Josh Kelly finally faces David Avanesyan in a European title fight as the welterweight rivals settle their long-running feud on January 30, live on Sky Sports.
The Sunderland fighter was originally set to fight Avanesyan in Sheffield back in December 2018, but an illness forced Kelly to withdraw on the morning of the fight.
Avanesyan and his team vented their frustration ahead of a rescheduled fight on March 2020 at The O2 in London, which was called off again due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but Kelly will now challenge the European champion next month, with a venue to be confirmed.
“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.”
“What a way to start the year with this heavily-anticipated grudge match,” said Matchroom Sport Managing Director Eddie Hearn.
“This is a huge step up for PBK and Ava has looked like a wrecking ball over the past few years. In 2021 we are going for gold and this is the perfect way to start the year – expect a thrilling fight!”
Adam Smith, Sky Sports‘ Head of Boxing Development said: “David Avanesyan’s European title defence against Josh Kelly is a superb start to our Sky Sports schedule for 2021.
“We’ve followed Josh Kelly’s exciting career since the very start, but now he faces a real acid test in the form of Avanesyan, a dangerous puncher, who has big ambitions of his own.
“Conor Benn will be watching his British rival closely, having called for a big domestic clash later in the year. But before that, PBK must produce a dazzling performance in a crucial European title clash.”