Avanesyan vs. Kelly rescheduled for February 20
January 18 2021
‘Ava’ defends European Welterweight crown against ‘PBK’
David Avanesyan will finally defend his EBU European Welterweight Title against undefeated rising star Josh Kelly in a bitter grudge match on Saturday February 20 at a venue to be confirmed, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.
The rivals were due to meet at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield back in December 2018 before an illness forced Kelly to withdraw from the contest on the morning of the fight, leading to “bottle job” jibes from Avanesyan’s manager Neil Marsh as bad blood boiled over between the camps.
Russia’s Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) dealt with the disappointment by firmly establishing himself as ‘the man’ of the European Welterweight scene, ripping the 147lbs title from Bilbao’s Kerman Lejarraga on away soil in March before destroying him in the opening round of their September rematch.
The former World Champion made light work of Jose del Rio last time out in Barcelona, crushing the Spaniard in the opening round, and now finds himself on the cusp of another World Title shot should he inflict a first defeat on Kelly.
"It's finally time to silence my doubters"
- Josh Kelly
Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs), a Rio 2016 Olympian from Sunderland, outclassed the previously undefeated Pole Przemyslaw Runowski at The O2 in April 2019 before drawing with Ray Robinson two months later on his US debut in New York.
‘PBK’ decisioned Nicaragua’s Wiston Campos in his last outing in Phoenix to set up his long-awaited showdown with Avanesyan, and the North East talent is determined to silence his critics by producing a career-best win in February.
A meeting between the pair was rescheduled for March 2020 at The O2 in London only for the outbreak of the coronavirus in the UK to scupper their plans once more, but the rivals have a chance to settle their feud once and for all next month in a fight that has been brewing for over two years.
“I look forward to February 20 and finally getting my fight against Josh on,” said Avanesyan. “I will never disrespect any fighter, but let’s just say the events of the past couple of years have made me very angry. The fact I have to spend Christmas away from my family and young child has given me extra motivation, not that any was needed.
“I’m going to put on a big show and a big performance for my family, my team, my friends and my UK fans who always give me such tremendous support – I have so much respect for them. Thank you to my team, Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. Enjoy the fight everyone, I am here to deal with business once and for all.”
“This fight has been a long time coming and it’s finally time to silence my doubters,” said Kelly. “He is the favourite heading into the fight. He has proved how good he is in his last three fights. It’s going to be a good fight, but one I’m quietly confident about.
“I feel like this is a turning point in my career. When I win, then I take it to the next level. A lot in the future is lying on this fight. Two fights ago I fought Ray Robinson, which was a massive step-up. I don’t think people realised how big of a step-up that was, but now I’m fighting Avanesyan, I should get the credit I deserve.”
Undefeated Welterweights Florian Marku (7-0-1, 5 KOs) and Rylan Charlton (6-0-1, 3 KOs) meet in what promises to be an explosive ten-round battle, Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10 KOs) returns against Spain’s Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7 KOs) following his win over Adam Harper at Fight Camp, Amy Timlin (4-0-1) and Carly Skelly (3-0-1) rematch for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title after their split draw on the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Derek Chisora undercard last October and explosive Romford Heavyweight Johnny Fisher makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.