David Avanesyan stuns Josh Kelly as Booth throws towel in sixth-round stoppage

Josh Kelly came up short in his bid to dethrone European welterweight champion David Avanesyan and instead slumped to his first professional defeat after six gruelling rounds at London's Wembley Arena.

Kelly, 26, was hoping to produce a career-best display up against the Russian veteran and initially made a sharp start, dodging and weaving Avanesyan's attacks and unleashing a flurry of his own to briefly wobble him.

The Sunderland man buckled Avanesyan's knees in the third, yet the round seemed to turn on its head when he sustained a cut on the back of his head which briefly destabilised him and allowed the champion to finish strongly.

From that point onwards Avanesyan ramped up the pressure, steaming forward and turning it into a real cat-and-mouse contest as Kelly retreated and countered.

The 32-year-old made it a dog fight in the fifth, dragging Kelly up close and whipping in a series of ferocious attacks to leave Pretty Boy on the verge of disaster.

That was before Avanesyan closed the show in a sensational sixth round, first flooring the home fighter with a lethal barrage of shots and hammering home the decisive shots which forced Adam Booth to throw in the towel.

The comprehensive defeat comes as a major blow to Kelly and his team, who were supremely confident ahead of his date of destiny with Russia's pint-sized powerhouse.

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  • On a night where British fight fans tuned in to hopefully watch Kelly come of age and set up a mouthwatering domestic dust-up with Conor Benn, the welterweight hopeful was instead dealt a sickening reality check in with one of the division's finest.

    Earlier in the evening, Florian Marku pulled himself off the canvas to stop Rylan Charlton after eight enthralling rounds of their welterweight dust-up, with the latter's corner eventually throwing the towel.

    Gabriel Valenzuela upset the apple cart by dropping Robbie Davies Jr in an all-action affair to edge out a razor-tight majority decision (94-94, 96-95, 96-95).

    Johnny Fisher got his professional career off to a flawless start by wiping out Matt Gordon in one round of their heavyweight contest.

    And Jordan Gill passed his toughest test yet to see off willing Mexican Cesar Juarez by unanimous decision and claim the WBA International featherweight title (98-92 98-93 96-94).

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