By Tim Royner: David Avanesyan has been ordered by the European Boxing Union to defend his welterweight title against unbeaten Josh Kelly (9-0-1, 6 KOs) in his next defense. A purse bid is scheduled for this month on October 16th.

It’s unclear whether the 2016 Olympian Kelly will agree to take the fight with the Russian Avanesyan (25-3-1, 13 KOs). #11 WBA, #15 WBC Kelly, 25, is coming off of a questionable 10 round draw against fringe contender Ray Robinson (24-3-2, 12 KOs) on June 1 on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. card at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kelly’s career is floundering right now.  Kelly’s last two performances showed that he’s not ready to fight even fringe level fighters.

Josh Kelly exposed by Ray Robinson

It looked to some boxing boxing fans that Robinson, 33, did more than enough to deserve the victory in the fight. Boxing News 24 had Robinson winning by an 8 rounds to 2 score.

Kelly looked like a sparring partner with the way he was covering up on the ropes for most of the fight. He was a sitting duck for Robinson’s shots. Kelly was cut over his left eye in round 7, and his right eye in round 10. Both cuts were caused by punches, not head-butts.

Kelly’s performances against both Robinson and Przemyslaw Runowski (17-1, 3 KOs) showed that he’s not worthy of being a world level contender. Josh Kelly isn’t ready to be rated in the top 15 by any of the 4 sanctioning bodies. Kelly still fights with an amateurish style in which he keeps his hand down by his waist, daring his opponents to try and hit him.

Kelly can’t afford a loss to Avanesyan

Josh Kelly needs to think hard before he makes the decision whether to take the fight with Avanesyan or not. If Kelly loses to a fighter at the level of Avanesyan, then he might as well pack in and retire. To go anywhere in the sport, Kelly has got to beat this kind of fighter. Avanesyan was stopped in the 6th round in February 2018 by Egidijus Kavaliauskas. In 2017, Avanesyan lost to Lamont Peterson. He also has a defeat to Andrey Klimov in 2009.

Unfortunately, Kelly’s reflexes aren’t what they need to be for him to fight with that style. When Kelly’s opponents throw head shots, they hit him, because he’s got his hands.

Kelly still fighting with his hands down 

Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth should have weaned him away from fighting with that style a long time ago, but he’s failed to do so. As such, Kelly’s career is a race to the bottom. He’s not good enough to fight against the best at 147, and he may not even be at the level to beat an EBU guys like Avanesyan.

Avanesyan looked impressive recently in stopping Kerman Lejarraga in the 1st round in their rematch on September 28. Avanesyan knocked the Spaniard Lejarraga down twice in the round. The fight was then stopped with Lejarrage on his feet.

Rather than having Kelly fight for Avanesyan, Matchroom Boxing should go ahead and pit Kelly against Conor Benn. That would be like watching a car wreck. The would be a really interesting contest from start to finish. Eddie Hearn likely won’t make that fight until it’s clear that neither guy is going anywhere.

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