Kelly masterclass crowns him British Champion
Kelly masterclass crowns him British Champion

Last night, it was Josh Kelly’s (12-1-1, 7 KOs) world and we were just living in it. A flawless performance from the Sunderland man saw him make light work of a tremendously gifted opponent in the dethroned Troy Williamson (19-1-1, 14 KOs). However, the British Super Welterweight Championship is making its way to Sunderland with ‘PBK’ after a truly phenomenal performance, scored 118-110, 119-109 and119-111 by the judges, live on Channel 5 from the Utilita Arena, Newcastle.

Kelly was consistently in a ‘flow state’ from the opening bell as he was loose and fluid both defensively and offensively. It was as predicted by fans and pundits as Williamson wasn’t quite prepared for the quick start and vicious speed possessed by his opponent. The left hook from Kelly caused problems throughout the night as it often landed flush whenever thrown, followed by a right uppercut, which proved to be a damning combination.

Williamson never once backed down from the uphill task of trying to keep his belt and close down Kelly. After being dominated in the first round, he was immediately back off his stool to step towards ‘PBK’ and look to shut him down. Kelly proved to be far too switched on for Williamson to land any substantial blows however as the Sunderland man remained confident in circling his opponent from the outside.

The mature performance from the new champion, Kelly, was epitomised in the fifth round as a left hook and right hook had Troy scrambled for a moment. With a slight quiver in his opponent’s legs, Kelly was in no rush to blindly seek a finish. He remained aggressive and aware of any opportunity to present itself, but this was a different fighter existing in his own bubble on the night and he remained in control of his emotions and dictated the bout.

It was more otherworldly moments from Kelly in the seventh round, reincarnating into Muhammad Ali 2.0 briefly as the rope-a-dope style evasion had the arena in awe. His confidence carried him in full control all the way towards the end of the fight as he remained calm, cool and collected with every second of every round.

With questions regarding his gas tank being asked in the build up to this, the eleventh round certainly answered them all as well as the fact he opted to stand between rounds and pace around the ring. He was still spritely, and still so loose and active as he pulled out another tried and tested left hook with a right uppercut. Another mainstay in the fight was Kelly’s movement, constantly snapping jabs at lovely angles to then use his footwork to slide out of the way and leave Williamson turning to find him once again.

In the final round, the Channel 5 commentary team declared this a masterclass from Kelly, which it absolutely was. There was nothing that could have been done on Williamson’s part last night with the type of fighter he faced in front of him. Credit to Williamson who will certainly be back and incredibly likely to hold the Lonsdale belt again having suffered his first defeat in the professional ranks. For Josh Kelly, this is the beginning of something special.

Josh Kelly

“The performance felt that smooth, and that much like it was the way it was supposed to go, I’m saying to Adam “Can you snap me out of this dream”. That was support from all sides tonight with some Middlesbrough fans, some Newcastle fans and some Sunderland fans; but the North East turned out.  This British title means so much to me, oh my god, all that hard work’s paid off baby!”

“What gas tank? That’s cancelled. I feel like I can go and do another five or ten rounds there. I boxed to instructions, boxed clever, boxed safe, boxed tidy and didn’t take no risks; and that’s what the outcome turns out like. Troy was meant to come and do a demolition job on me, he’s a hard-punching knockout artist in the Super Welterweight division. There’s a new name now, there was always the name actually, but it has come into play now. Josh Kelly, baby.”

“A massive happy birthday to my trainer Adam Booth as well. Massive respect to Troy and all his team and fans too, all that online stuff is just online stuff. We’re cool, Troy’s a very hard and strong competitor, but I want to take the time to thank everyone who has stuck behind me and been loyal. My dad, my mum, my family; everybody man.”

“Thank you Channel 5 and everyone for all their support. Merry Christmas everyone, we’re going to have a good one this year.”

Kalle Sauerland

“There’s good boxers, there’s very good boxers, and then there’s special boxers. I’m so proud of Josh, all those critics had their words stuffed right back down their throats after them 12 rounds tonight. The sky is the limit for him, like Adam (Booth) said, he’s not just good he’s special. There’s a reason why there was so much hype surrounding him at the beginning of his career; the hype train is back on.”

“It’s going to be an amazing journey next year, we’re just very excited. I want to enjoy tonight first but there’s huge domestic fights available to us, this is world level though. What we saw tonight was world class. This has been a long time coming, tonight he proved all the doubters wrong in the best possible way. I’m so proud of him, and Adam, absolute professionals in the way they’ve gone about it as always. What Josh did tonight was a masterclass against a very dangerous opponent, do not underestimate him because he’ll be back I’m sure; but Josh Kelly is special.”

Adam Booth

“I’ve said from the first day that he’s the most talented fighter I’ve ever worked with. The only person who beat Josh Kelly up until now was Josh Kelly, he had to overcome monumental mental issues. We have now started to unearth the potential that lies in this man; he is going to be something special.”

“I’m only interested in working with the best, and he’s only interested with being the best.”