Kell Brook has warned Josh Kelly 10-0-1 (6) that he will need to be prepared for a tough challenge against upcoming opponent David Avanesyan 26-3-1 (14).
Kelly is expected to challenge for Avanesyan’s European welterweight title after later this year after their original date on March 28 was postponed due to the coronavirus.
Former IBF welterweight champion Brook said Avanesyan will be a good measuring stick to see where Kelly is at with his career.
“I’ve sparred with the guy and he’s a real handful. You can give him some big licks but he keeps coming and he adjusts,” Brook told Sky Sports.
“He’s a gatekeeper to see exactly where you are. And he’s got better.”
Russia’s Avanesyan, 31, holds a victory over Shane Mosley and has gone undefeated in his past three outings since being stopped on his feet in six by former world title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas two years ago.
Brook praised Olympian Kelly for his technical prowess but said he saw chinks in his armour in his draw against Ray Robinson last June.
“Kelly is an amazing fighter, the skills are unbelievable. He is sharp, he has dummies. His technical ability? You can’t hold a candle to him,” Brook said.
“In the amateurs we have four-round fights. Now it’s 12 rounds.
“Against Robinson we saw him unravelling when it got past five or six rounds.
“You need to be a complete fighter – the heart, the chin, the toughness. You’ve got to have it all. When the going gets tough and he’s questioning himself, has he got it? There’s a question mark.
“Adam Booth is a very good trainer and [he will make Kelly’s wrongs into rights].”
At the press conference to announce the original fight date Avanesyan’s promoter Neil Marsh issued a stark warning to Kelly.
“I’m not talking [about a] 38, 39-year-old boxer, who’s had his best days. You’re talking [about] a kid who is in the best form of his life, who is hungry, whose total desire is to provide for his family, and that will be with beating Josh Kelly,” he said.
“I have got absolutely no doubt that Avanesyan knocks Josh Kelly out.
“It will be a difficult fight for five, six rounds. He’s a fantastic amateur, he’ll be moving a lot, he’s got a lot of speed, but David is going to get to him.”
Kelly replied: “I’ve got all this stacked up against us. I’m the underdog, I enjoy being the underdog.”