[Update: Kelly vs Avanesyan has been postponed for a third time after the BBBofC ruled no boxing will take place in the UK in January 2021 due to the second wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic].

Sunderland’s flashy Josh Kelly aims to prove the doubters wrong when he challenges the dangerous David Avanesyan for the European welterweight title on January 30.

The bout has twice been postponed, leading to some friction between the rival camps and also seen opinion shift – Kelly was originally a clear favourite with the bookmakers, but Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) is now considered the stronger bet.

BetFred slightly favours champion Avanesyan at 10/11 with Kelly a 20/21 pick in what promises to be one of the more intriguing battles of early 2021. This bout will prove if Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) can cut it at a higher level after the early hype to his career has been muted with more solid than spectacular performances. 

Meanwhile, Russian Avanesyan won three European title fights by stoppage in Spain in 2019, brushing aside the touted Kerman Lejarraga twice in the process. He is a true measuring stick of Kelly’s potential.

“This fight has been a long time coming and it’s finally time to silence my doubters,” Kelly told The Sun. “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 will take it to the next level. A lot in my future depends on this fight.

“People think I will change my style when I step up in class but I have a lot of layers and people are going to see them,” added the Sunderland man.

Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.