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Avanesyan vs Kelly: Conor Benn backs Josh Kelly, but sees Avanesyan as big threat

Conor Benn isn’t sure Josh Kelly will have what it takes against David Avanesyan on Saturday.

Boxing at the o2 Arena Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Conor Benn and Josh Kelly do have some history, at least sniping a bit in the media, and shared promoter Eddie Hearn has made no secret that he thinks that can be a big fight for British boxing, maybe even this year.

But both have fights to take care of before that’s on the table, including Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KO) challenging David Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KO) for the European welterweight title this Saturday (Feb. 20, 2 pm ET) on DAZN and Sky Sports.

Benn tells Sky that he is backing his fellow Brit Kelly, but that he sees Avanesyan as a serious danger for the ex-Olympian, which isn’t an uncommon view of the fight:

“I believe Avanesyan might be too much. I can only go on their last two performances and Avanesyan’s were great, [they] were outstanding. ... It’s going to be a hard one for Kelly. But if he lives up to the hype and praise that everyone gives him, he’ll come through with flying colors and really show what he is made of. He will rise to the occasion. But Avanesyan is an animal.”

Benn (17-0, 11 KO) figures it will be Avanesyan by mid-rounds stoppage or Kelly on points. He also discusses his own upcoming Apr. 10 fight with Samuel Vargas as if he’s the underdog, which, y’know, whatever works for him to be ready.

If both Kelly, 26, and Benn, 24, do win their upcoming fights, it really could be a great fight for Matchroom to put together after, maybe for the summer. They could also each do one more fight in the interim and possibly end the year going head-to-head, but it might not be better to “marinate” any further than necessary. It’s a good fight now, it’s a better fight if they beat Avanesyan and Vargas.

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