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Conor Benn: Josh Kelly has to question how much he wants it after Avanesyan loss

Conor Benn and Josh Kelly were set up to be domestic rivals, but Benn says he took no joy in Kelly’s loss to David Avanesyan.

Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor Press Conference Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Conor Benn was on hand yesterday in London as David Avanesyan broke down and stopped Josh Kelly in the sixth round.

Benn and Kelly (10-1-1, 6 KO) have been positioned for a possible future showdown, maybe even this year, but obviously that’s not going to be in the cards with the 26-year-old Kelly needing to regroup, if he can, and whether he can or not is now the question a lot of people are considering.

Benn questions whether or not Kelly has the desire to be more than we’ve seen:

“Kelly has got all the skill. He is naturally gifted. Why does he keep blowing up after four or five rounds? Maybe it is a weight issue, maybe he should move up a weight, because I like Kelly, I do. I’m gutted for him, to be honest, I really am. ... He will come back. He’s just got to sit down and question how much he wants it.”

Benn noted, as we all saw, that Kelly looked really sharp early on in the fight, was taking Avanesyan (27-3, 15 KO) apart through two rounds, and then it just sort of crumbled. There are huge, legitimate questions about Kelly’s future — this is neither “hating” nor “hype.” This is based on what we’ve seen of him. Fair questions.

As for the 24-year-old Benn (17-0, 11 KO), he’s set to return on Apr. 10 against veteran Samuel Vargas. If Benn gets past that, maybe he finds himself in with Avanesyan.

Do you think Kelly will bounce back? Can he find his sweet spot as a professional, or is he just not going to be what he was hoped to be?

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