Josh Kelly On Fighting at MSG, Sunderland's Promotion Hopes And His Top 3 Fights For 2019
Most people would think that fighting at Madison Square Garden would be the biggest event of their week but not for unbeaten British prospect Josh Kelly, who says that his boyhood Sunderland team's play-off final at Wembley is jangling more nerves in the local area than his upcoming bout across the pond.
"Loads of the lads are heading down to London for the game and they're more nervous about how Sunderland will get on against Charlton than my fight against Ray Robinson the following Saturday!"
Josh 'Pretty Boy' Kelly will become the first Sunderland boxer to fight professionally in New York City as he takes his place on the Anthony Joshua undercard at Madison Square Garden on June 1st but his attention will first be on the outcome at Wembley Stadium as Jack Ross' Black Cats battle Lee Bowyer's Charlton Athletic for a place in the Championship next season.
"It's obviously a massive game for the club and let's hope the boys get the job done to cap off a great season. I'll be watching it on TV before flying out to the States for fight week and it would be the perfect way to start a huge week for both me and the family."
The 25-year-old former Olympian will make his Stateside debut, looking to move to 10-0 against Ray Robinson at the famous arena known as the 'Mecca of Boxing'. Kelly's WBA International Welterweight title will be on the line in what could prove to be the Brit's toughest test to date. The experienced 33-year-old American has won 24 of his 28 contests and Josh knows that it won't be easy to maintain his perfect record at Madison Square Garden.
"People have asked me about whether I'll stop him or win on points but I'm fully focused on just getting the victory, it doesn't matter how it comes. MSG is one of two venues that I've always dreamed about boxing at, the other obviously being The Stadium of Light so it's a dream come true to be lucky enough to tick off the first one and let's hope we can one day get a World Title shot back in Sunderland"
The main event on June 1st sees another unbeaten former Olympian, Anthony Joshua, in action and Josh Kelly is expecting the unified Heavyweight Champion of the world to overcome Andy Ruiz Jr. with a show-stopping performance. "AJ's the main man in the division and even though he's had a late change of opponent, I can't see Ruiz giving him too many problems. When I look at the attributes of both men; power, agility, reach etc AJ comes out on top every time and so I expect him to put on a show and take out the American in style."
A win for AJ would hopefully bring us a step closer to seeing the mouthwatering clash between himself and Deontay Wilder, who cleaned out Dominic Breazeale inside just one round on May 18th and it's one of three fights that Josh Kelly has on his bucket list for the second half of 2019.
"We need to see it, it's for the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship and it would be an absolute ware between the two most dangerous guys in the division. Another fight I'd love to see before the turn of the year is Callum Smith taking on Canelo at Super Middleweight, he's got the size to trouble Álvarez and it would be a really good one to watch. The final one is Lomachenko against any of the other top fighters, I don't care who it is but I just love watching him box and it looks like he might be fighting Luke Campbell next so I can't wait to see him in action again and hopefully it will be in the UK!"
It's the start of a massive couple of months for Josh who is also getting married this summer and so with his mind focused on Wembley, Ray Robinson and wedding bells, he's leaving the fight schedule to trainer Adam Booth and promoter Eddie Hearn who will hope to have the path to a World Title laid out over the coming weeks and months.
"June 1st is going to be the start of something big and I trust Adam and Eddie to make the right decisions to get me that World Title shot when they feel that I'm ready. All I can do is keep taking care of whoever they put in front of me and that's what I'm going to do next Saturday night against Ray Robinson"