Josh Kelly vs. Kris George this Saturday in Newcastle By Trevor McIntyre: Josh Kelly (6-0, 4 KOs) will be fighting Commonwealth welterweight champion Kris George (14-1, 8 KOs) this Saturday night in a 12 round fight on June 16 at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle. The 24-year-old 2016 Olympian Kelly is coming off of a 10 round unanimous decision victory over 35-year-old former junior middleweight champion Carlos Molina on March 31 on the undercard of IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s unification fight against WBO champion Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth believes the fight against the 28-year-old Kris George is a good fight for him to take at this point in his career. Some boxing fans would argue that Kelly is taking a backwards move by going from fighting a former world champion to battling a Commonwealth champion, but this is what Booth wants. It might be a waste of time for Kelly to be moved along glacially slow, as he’s a 2016 Olympian, and fighters with that type of experience are expected to be moved at a rapid pace with their careers.
“We’ll take these risks, calculated risks, because we believe in the fighter that we have,” Booth said to punch-lines.co.uk. “When I talk about Josh I only talk about world championships but this is only part of the journey, a journey which will be entertaining and incredible for the north east.”
Kelly is going to have to be aimed towards the WBC or WBA ‘regular’ welterweight titles for him to have a chance of winning a world title in the future. He likely won’t be able to cope with the talent of IBF 147lb champion Errol Spence Jr. or WBO belt holder Terence Crawford. Kelly isn’t that type of talent. He’s a good basic welterweight, who might be able to beat the likes of Danny Garcia or maybe Shawn Porter, but not the super talented guys. Booth likely will want Kelly to wait a few years before he challenges for a world title because he won’t want him to lose his confidence if things don’t work out well for him. Kelly would have a chance against WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse if he could keep from getting hit a lot. Matthysse is still a huge puncher with either hand.
The Australian George has only one loss on his six-year pro career in losing to Can Xu by a 10 round unanimous decision in June 2015. George struggled with the speed of the Chinese fighter Xu. Since that loss, George has won his last seven fights against domestic level opposition. George’s recent wins have come against Maximiliano Leonel Scazone, Jack Brubaker, Cameron Hammond and Bowyn Morgan. George hasn’t been facing good opposition, which explains why he’s not suffered any additional loses since his defeat to Xu three years ago. George is used to fighting in his home country of Australia. Just how well he’ll be able to do fighting on the road remains to be seen.
“Josh is a special talent, he really is,” Booth said. “He has that crossover appeal as a fighter. As a fighter, there have been some interesting performances from him so far, it makes for good highlight reels.”
Kelly’s wins as a pro have come against these fighters:
– Carlos Molina
– Jean Michel Hamilcaro
– Jose Luis Zuniga
– Tom Whitfield
– Jony Vina
– Jay Byrne