Fighting for the EBU European welterweight title, Englishman Josh Kelly will challenge Russia’s David Avanesyan for his belt at the Wembley Arena in London on Saturday night.

After over two years of delays, the much-anticipated match-up will be airing on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN around the world.

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Victory is essential for Kelly. If ‘Pretty Boy’ wishes to move on to challenge at world level, or even pursue bigger domestic fights, then he must convincingly stop his dangerous opponent.

Undefeated and hoping things will stay that way, Kelly could be in with a shot of taking on Conor Benn next if everything goes to plan.

At 26-years-old and with a successful amateur career behind him, the weekend’s bout is the perfect opportunity for Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) to prove that he is a serious professional.

Kelly, a former Team GB boxer and Olympian, is promoted by Match Room Boxing’s Eddie Hearn. The businessman predicts that his man will leap to stardom if he demolishes Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs).

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“I’m so intrigued by this fight,” Hearn said.

“If Josh Kelly goes in there and demolishes David Avanesyan, which can happen because he’s that kind of fighter, then he can become a star on Saturday night.

“He looks the part, Josh Kelly. Who wouldn’t want to look as handsome as him? If he can fight like he looks, then he’s going to be a star. But these are the type of fights that make stars.

“Last year, I felt like Avanesyan was the favourite, but seeing Josh Kelly and seeing how focused he is and the shape he’s in, I do think he’s the favourite going into this fight.”

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Already a star in England, Kelly is hardly known outside of the UK. Benn, who goes to battle with Samuel Vargas in April, said that he wants his countryman to beat Avanesyan and help put Britain on the welterweight map.

“It’s a hard fight but I back the Brit,” Benn said.

“I hope Kelly does the business; I really do.

“Not only for our fights further down the year, but I want to put Britain on the map.”

The reality, however, is that Avanesyan (trained by Carl Greaves) has won his past three fights via a stoppage in his opponents’ homelands.

Benn, who challenged Kelly after beating Sebastian Formella in November, explained that he believes ‘Ava’ may be too fierce an opponent to beat.

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“My opinion on the fight? I believe Avanesyan might be too much,” he said.

“I can only go on their last two performances and Avanesyan’s were great, they were outstanding.

“It’s going to be a hard one for Kelly. If he lives up to the hype and praise that everyone gives him, he’ll come through with flying colours and really show what he is made of. He will rise to the occasion.

“But Avanesyan is an animal.

“Mid-to-late rounds, Avanesyan stoppage or Kelly will out-box him. It depends how Kelly moves on the night.

“It’s now or never for Kelly.

“He needs to make these steps up quickly.”

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A feud that has been brewing courtesy of Covid-19, the Sunderland born fighter plans to end the dispute and do so emphatically.

Re-arranged for a fourth time, Kelly says that come 10pm GMT on Saturday night, he’ll win by stoppage.

“I will 100% beat Avanesyan inside the distance. If it goes to points then it goes to points, but I’m winning and a big stoppage is coming,” he exclaimed.

“Mentally it’s down to me. I know where I’m at.

“It’s time to prove everyone wrong. It’s time to prove that what I know is right.

“Pure excitement, I can’t wait. I’ve had a smile on my face for weeks knowing this fight was coming.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m going to take it with both hands.”

A clash expected to be the most grueling test of Kelly’s unbeaten pro career, this is not one to miss!

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