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Conor Benn wants winner of Josh Kelly-David Avanesyan fight

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Undefeated welterweight Conor ‘The Destroyer’ Benn 16-0 (11) has declared his willingness to face the winner of the Josh Kelly 10-0-1 (6) versus David Avanesyan 26-3-1 (13) fight.

WBC number 15 Kelly was scheduled to face WBC number six Avanesyan for the European title on March 28 but the fight has been postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“I speak with Avanesyan. Me and Kelly have had our back and forths. But you have to support the Brit,” Benn said to Sky Sports.

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“It would be a massive fight if Kelly comes through. Am I struggling to see it? I am. Based on the last three performances of each fighter. They say you’re only as good as your last fight.”

Kelly went the distance twice in stateside fights in 2019, drawing with Ray Robinson in June before widely outpointing Winston Campos over 10 rounds six months later.

Avanesyan knocked out three opponents last year in Spain, including back-to-back first-round stoppage in his last two fights against Kerman Lejarraga and Jose del Rio.

“I think Avanesyan could get to him late based on Kelly slowing down in the later rounds,” Benn said.

“But maybe that’s a weight thing so if he does his weight properly he may have more energy in the later rounds.

“I’d fight either of them.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes Benn has improved in recent times and says a fight with Kelly could potentially happen.

“A fight with Kelly is a big, British fight. If [Kelly] beats Avanesyan and [Benn] wins a British title and move up in the world rankings, it is a big fight,” Hearn said.

“[Benn] is closing the gap because people said [Kelly] was too experienced for him, with his amateur pedigree. Too good for [Benn]?

“But as Benn’s performances have improved, people are talking about this fight being more competitive.”

Benn admits Kelly has a certain advantage with his Olympic pedigree.

“Kelly had a head-start with his amateur career,” Benn said. “That’s something I wish I had, but wish I didn’t have at the same time.

“I believe it would do me favours later in my career. But you end up having injuries.

“It’s a blessing in disguise that I don’t have the amateurs. I’m putting in the hard graft now to make up for it.

“I may never be a polished, slick, defensive fighter. All I know is that whoever I fight will know they’ve been in a fight.

“Technically Kelly would box anyone’s ears off for six rounds. But it’s the next six that count.

“With the hard graft I put in, with being able to carry my punch power into the later rounds, and with being able to take a shot, I’d cause him a hell of a problem.”

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