David Avanesyan sensationally retained his European Welterweight title, grounding down Josh Kelly in a sixth round win at the SSE Arena.
The towel came in from Kelly’s trainer, Adam Booth, at the same time that Kelly was dropped for a second time in the fight.
The contest had been over two years in the making, with the original December 2018 meeting shelved on the morning of the fight with Kelly pulling out through illness. Two further dates bit the dust due to the COVID Pandemic, and the pair finally got it on at the fourth time of asking.
The tension was palpable, and the two began the contest in focused fashion, with Kelly’s speed shading the first round.
Avanesyan was guilty of over reaching early on, allowing Kelly to get in and out of range quickly, and a left hook shook the Russian up halfway through the session.
The pair began to exchange towards the end of the frame, with ‘Ava’ connecting with shots of his own, and there was blood pouring from the back of Kelly’s head.
Kelly was boxing well, and using his speed to great effect, bewildering Avanesyan at times with accurate shots from intelligent angles in an impressive third.
The Sunderland man was growing in confidence, fighting with his hands down and using his footwork to his advantage, and the fourth was another good round for ‘PBK’.
Avanesyan though was playing the long game, and was working well to the body, constantly pressuring Kelly as he got closer and closer to his man, and the fifth saw the champion connect with several eye catching shots as the two opened up.
Avanesyan wasn’t giving Kelly a moments rest, and three clubbing right hands forced Josh to touch down in the sixth.
The energy had drained from Kelly, and a jarring left hand on the resumption forced his legs to buckle, and a follow up attack forced him to the canvas, and with the towel thrown in simultaneously, the fight was dramatically over to the delight of Avanesyan and his team.
“I feel very good, I waited a long time for this fight” said Avanesyan post fight. “I thank my coach and my team, they’ve helped me so much. I knew Josh was fast, but people thought that because the fight had taken two years, that it would be easier for him, I showed I was better.”
“I told everyone how the fight was going to go, he finds a way every time” said Avansyan’s trainer, Carl Greaves. “I’ve spent over five years with David now and I’ve seen so much of him, I was so confident ahead of this fight”.
Avanesyan’s thoughts will turn to a return to world title level, while Kelly will need to go back to the drawing board in what was his first professional loss.
Florian Marku was a level above Rylan Charlton in their Welterweight meeting, but he had to get off the deck to halt his opponent in eight rounds.
It was a busy and aggressive start by both, with each trying to establish their jabs, but the Albanian’s was slightly the better in the opening round.
Marku landed a right hand to begin the second that momentarily stunned Charlton, but ‘The Pintsized Powerhouse’ regained his composure, even in the face of Marku talking to him during battle.
Marku was showing a lot more variety than his opponent, and was walking through Charlton, showing no respect for anything the Norfolk man was offering.
A massive right hook at the end of the fourth from Marku dipped Charlton’s knees and had him all at sea, but the bell saved him from what could have been the end.
Charlton was one paced and struggling to get a foothold, as Marku landed another well timed uppercut in the fifth, but the sixth saw an unexpected turn, when Charlton connected with a short left hook that dropped Marku, who seemed to roll his ankle as he fell.
He took the count and saw out the round, but Charlton was growing in confidence, and his shots were having better effect after halfway, although a Marku right hook wobbled his legs at the end of the seventh.
Charlton was fast running out of petrol, and Marku stepped up his assaults in the eighth, and under heavy fire, Rylan’s corner threw the towel in to signal the end of the fight.
Gabriel Valenzuela claimed the vacant IBF International Super Lightweight title with a gruelling upset majority decision win over Robbie Davies Junior.
It was a lively opening few rounds, and Davies was countered with a perfectly timed right hand in the third round that dumped him on the canvas. He comfortably beat the count, but showed concern in the corner with new trainer Dominic Ingle about his sluggish beginning.
The Mexican was docked a point for hitting on the break in the fourth, but was dangerous as he constantly tagged the Liverpudlian, who recovered from a slow start in what was a rough contest, with both bloodied.
Davies seemed to tire down the stretch, and the eighth saw him caught several times by Valenzuela, but the action was scrappy in parts.
In the final minute of the contest, Davies looked out on his feet as he was rocked by the visitor, but the fight went to the cards. One score of 94-94 was overruled by two scores of 96-95 as the man from Guadalajara took the belt.
Jordan Gill won the WBA International Featherweight title for a second time with a points win over the lively former two time world title challenger, Cesar Juarez. Gill lost the title in his only career loss to Enrique Tinoco, but reclaimed the vacant belt in a competitive contest.
Juarez was intent on roughing Gill up early on, but ‘The Thrill’ used good movement and shot selection to keep the Mexican at bay.
Juarez did put Gill under pressure at times as he looked to stamp his authority, and Gill caught a lot of blows cleanly in the fifth, but Juarez expended a lot of energy in trying to chase Gill down.
Juarez kept Gill thinking throughout, and put a lot of pressure on the Chatteris man, but Jordan impressed with his movement and angles to effectively negate the Mexican’s all action style. Scores of 98-92, 98-93 and 96-94 confirmed Gill as the winner.
Johnny Fisher made his professional debut, and ‘The Romford Bull’ needed under a round to dispense of West Bromwich’s Matt Gordon in their Heavyweight four rounder.
Fisher caught Gordon high on the temple with a right hand that wobbled the Midlander, and only the ropes held him up on the follow up attack.
After taking a count, Gordon then took a series of clubbing right hands that forced him to the canvas, and the fight was waved off after the count.