GARY LOCKETT: “SMITH CLAIMS HE LEARNT A LOT BUT, WHEN YOU GET BADLY BEATEN UP, IT DOESN’T INSTIL CONFIDENCE, DOES IT?”

TRAINER GARY LOCKETT FIRES BACK

Photo Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough

Lauded Welsh trainer Gary Lockett feels that the momentum is with his man, reigning British champ Liam Williams, ahead of the unmissable super-welter set-to against former WBO boss Liam Smith at Manchester Arena on April 8th.

Twenty-four year old Williams from Clydach Vale in the Rhondda valley is presently unbeaten in 17 (one draw) and improving with every outing, whilst the Merseysider resurfaces following a ballsy but ultimately brutal knockout loss to elite Mexican ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Speaking with Glynn Evans, ‘The Rocket Man’, himself a former world middleweight title challenger, questions whether ‘Beefy’ might be damaged goods as he enters the most eagerly anticipated domestic 154lb dual since Ryan Rhodes met Jamie Moore in 2009.

Lockett says: “Liam Smith is easily the best opponent my kid has faced. He has exceptional shot selection and is more defensively adept than Williams. Smith can be a little lazy when he’s on the outside, preferring to use his feet and decent head movement to work close, where he appears more comfortable.

‘Beefy’ is a very good body puncher; a master at that left hook behind the elbow. My Liam must be wary of that, and he will be. A bit of fear will hopefully encourage him to use his own attributes a bit better. There’s ways and means to apply our pressure. Expect Williams to be more switched on mentally than he’s ever been.

What does ‘Beefy’ not do so well? That’d be telling!

It’s true Liam Williams has stopped his last eight – four in title fights – so we’re on a roll but, to be fair, Liam Smith was on a very similar run before ‘Canelo’ halted his momentum.

It’s hard to say what the effects of that conclusive loss to ‘Canelo’ will be on ‘Beefy’. Liam (Smith) claims he learnt a lot but, when you get badly beaten up, it doesn’t instil confidence, does it? It’s also possible he could react like a wounded tiger. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams provide chief-support on April 8th in one of the most anticipated domestic dust-ups in recent times; WBO Lightweight boss Terry Flanagan tops the bill with his fifth defence against danger man Petr Petrov; slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut along with a talent-packed card of local talent.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

JOE GALLAGHER: “LIAM WILLIAMS IS A CONTROL FREAK. ‘BEEFY’ HOLDS A BIG SWAY IN TEMPERAMENT.”

GALLAGHER: “LIAM WILLIAMS IS A CONTROL FREAK. ‘BEEFY’ HOLDS A BIG SWAY IN TEMPERAMENT.”


Photo: Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge

Liverpool’s Liam Smith might have conceded his precious WBO Super-Welter strap and unbeaten tag to Mexican megastar ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Texas last September (ko9), but his coach Joe Gallagher insists that, still just 28, ‘Beefy’ is positively frothing to re-assert his domestic dominance at 154lbs when he collides head on with Clydach Vale’s undefeated Liam Williams, the reigning British champion, in what promises to be a high grade and explosive Anglo-Welsh confrontation at Manchester Arena on April 8th.

Speaking to Glynn Evans, Gallagher asserted: “Come fight night, ‘Beefy’ just ‘switches on’. Pundits are always commenting on how he snarls and smiles at opponents, goads and baits them, whilst remaining calm himself. If anyone tries roughing it, drops the nut in or lands a bollock shot, they can expect one back immediately. ‘Beefy’ just relishes fighting. He’d spar every day if I’d let him. He’s got a natural fighting mentality.

Williams is a bit of a control freak but Smith’s a master at dictating the tempo. ‘Beefy’ is a very smart kid with regard to judging situations mid fight. He’s a thinking fighter who doesn’t need too much guidance from the corner. He sets plenty of traps.

He’s very good at forcing opponents to do what they don’t want to do. Can Liam Williams box on the back foot? Does he have the boxing brain to sustain a plan for 12 rounds or will he revert to brawling when the heat’s turned up? We don’t know but we’ll definitely find out on 8th April.”

In his British title defence against Gary Corcoran, Williams got drawn in, fought with his heart and lost his composure. If it does get fractious in the pressers and media, ‘Beefy’ will thrive off that. He’s a good talker who doesn’t spout shite. He keeps it real and usually backs up what he says.”

Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams provide chief-support on April 8th in one of the most anticipated domestic dust-ups in recent times; WBO Lightweight boss Terry Flanagan tops the bill with his fifth defence against danger man Petr Petrov; slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut along with a talent-packed card of local talent.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

WBO LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMP FLANAGAN PROMISES NO SLIP-UPS AGAINST PETROV

FLANAGAN: “IF I’M NOT 100% AGAINST PETROV I COULD SLIP-UP”

PETROV: “THIS FIGHT HAS COME AT THE PERFECT TIME FOR ME. I’M IN THE FORM OF MY LIFE”

Photo credit: Karen Priestley

WBO Lightweight Champion of the World Terry Flanagan and his latest challenger Petr Petrov came face-to-face at a press conference today at the home of Premier League giants Manchester City ahead of their showdown at the Manchester Arena on Saturday 8th April, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

Undefeated Flanagan, a City fanatic and season ticket holder at the Etihad Stadium, is gearing up for the fifth defence of his WBO strap and insisted no corners will be cut in his preparation for former World Title challenger Petrov.

“If I’m not 100% against Petrov I could slip up,” said Flanagan. “If I’m not on my game he’s a potential banana skin and I won’t get those big unification fights later on in the year. First and foremost I need to get in the gym and do the hard work. Me at my best beats him at his best.

“He’s been at World level for years now and he’s right up there. He’s got four losses on his record but they were all against good fighters. Petr is a seasoned fighter but on the night I can adapt and deal with whatever he brings.

“Personally I don’t think you’ve seen the best of me yet. There’s still a lot more to come from me and I’m looking forward to showing people what I can do on April 8th. I still think I’m boxing within myself. I’ve never been behind in a fight so I’ve never had to show what I’m made of. You’ll see the best of me when I do go behind in a fight.

“My better nights are still to come, which says a lot a 32-0 and preparing to make my fifth World Title defence. Petrov is a great fighter, he can come at you and also box a bit. This is going to be a tough fight and your next fight is always your hardest fight. Every time I’ve boxed at arenas in Manchester I’ve come away with stoppage wins, I want to keep that up on April 8th.”

33-year-old Petrov (38-4-2, 19 KOs), a native of Russia who fights out of Spain, was stopped by Marcos Maidana in his previous attempt at a World Title back in 2011. Since dropping 12-round decision in 2013 to Dejan Zlaticanin, the WBO no.2 ranked danger man has won six fights in a row and says his experience gives him an edge over Flanagan.

“I’ve been waiting a very long time for another shot at a World Title,” said Petrov. “Finally it has come around and I think at the age of 33 this fight has come at the perfect time for me. I’m quicker and more agile than ever, I’m in the best form of my life.

“I’m stronger and I’m smarter than I was earlier in my career. That comes from training in America, it has made me a more intelligent fighter. Los Angeles is a great place for sparring, I’ve been sparring with southpaws from Japan, Russia and the United States in preparation for Terry. I understand how important sparring is and that’s what we’ll be paying attention to in the run up to the fight.

“I respect Terry as an undefeated World Champion, you have to. He is a very good boxer but I still think he has a lot to show. I’ve been around the block and fought a lot of different opponents. If I prepare well and execute my game plan I know I can beat him.”

Flanagan vs. Petrov tops a mouth-watering night of action at the Manchester Arena; Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash in one of the most anticipated domestic dust-ups in recent times; slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.

Elsewhere on the card former World Title challenger Jimmy Kelly takes on Bolton man Rick Godding in a tasty local tear-up; rising Super-Featherweight star Zelfa Barrett fights over six; Liverpool Super-Welterweight James Metcalf takes on Heywood’s Mark Thompson; undefeated Super-Lightweight Steven Lewis faces Andy Keates; Oldham Super-Middleweight Mark Heffron, Ellesmere Port Super-Welterweight Mason Cartwright, Manchester Cruiserweight Jordan Thompson and Super-Middleweight Anthony Leak complete a stacked card.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

RIVALS SMITH AND WILLIAMS CONCLUDE MEDIA TOUR AT THE CARDIFF CITY HALL

SMITH: “HOW ARE YOU SAYING HE’S GOING TO BEAT ME? I’LL SHOW YOU HOW WRONG YOU ARE TO SAY THAT!”

WILLIAMS: “HE’S BY NO MEANS AN ELITE FIGHTER. I NEED TO PROVE MYSELF AND MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL”

Cardiff City Hall, Cardiff, Wales

Photo credit: Huw Fairclough

Liam Smith and Liam Williams concluded their two-city media tour today at the Cardiff City hall ahead of their eagerly-anticipated all-British showdown at the Manchester Arena on Saturday 8th April, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

Liverpool’s Smith, 23-1-1 13 KO’s, was completely unfazed by the boisterous Welsh fight fans in attendance and even said that Williams was ‘lost’ on the top table without his trainer and manager Gary Lockett.

“How are you saying he’s going to beat me?” asked Smith. “I’ll show you how wrong you are to say that. If you think he’ll beat me you’re forgetting things. I was British Champion three years ago and I think people seem to forget that.

“This is a step up for him and I’ll show that it is a step too far. I’m massively confident of beating Liam Williams, he hasn’t got a lot of variety and that will show, especially if it comes down to a slugfest. Liam is lost up here on the top table without Gary.”

Clydach Vale star Williams, 16-0-1 11 KO’s, dismissed claims that Smith is an elite fighter and predicted that his strength and power will be too much for the former WBO World Champion to handle on the night.

“I think I’m physically stronger and bigger that Liam Smith and that will cause him problems all night long”, said Williams. “This fight is a step up for me but Smith is by no means an elite fighter. I need to prove myself and move on to the next level.

“This is the most motivated I’ve been in my career. Everything is going perfectly in my camp and it is definitely going to be a cracking fight for the fans. I’m excited and I know that I can beat him.I think I do things just that little bit better than him and that will show on April 8th.”

Smith vs. Williams is part of an unmissable evening of action at the Manchester Arena on April 8th; local hero Terry Flanagan makes the fifth defence of his WBO World Lightweight crown against dangerous Russian Petr Petrov; slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap ; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.

Elsewhere on the card former World Title challenger Jimmy Kelly takes on Bolton man Rick Godding in a tasty local tear-up; rising Super-Featherweight star Zelfa Barrett fights over six; Liverpool Super-Welterweight James Metcalf takes on Heywood’s Mark Thompson; undefeated Super-Lightweight Steven Lewis faces Andy Keates; Oldham Super-Middleweight Mark Heffron, Ellesmere Port Super-Welterweight Mason Cartwright, Manchester Cruiserweight Jordan Thompson and Super-Middleweight Anthony Leak complete a stacked card.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

MATHEWS: EVERYONE WANTS ME TO SMASH DAVIES

Liverpool man says he’ll silence Londoner on his home patch on March 4

Derry Mathews says the whole of British boxing want him to shut Ohara Davies up when they clash in a grudge match at The O2 in London on March 4, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Liverpool favourite Mathews challenges Davies for the Hackney man’s WBC Silver Super-Lightweight title on the undercard of David Haye and Tony Bellew Heavyweight showdown – with the Merseyside-London rivalries on a par for spite as ‘Dirty’ Derry and ‘Two Tanks’ continue to trade barbs on social media in a hostile build-up.

Former World Lightweight title challenger Mathews believes that Davies is talking himself into a corner by disrespecting the experienced and popular Scouser online, and that the sold-out Greenwich arena will be willing him on to silence Davies in style.

“The kid is mad and everyone in boxing wants me to do him in,” said Mathews. “He bad mouths people because he thinks it’s going to raise his profile – the likes of Naseem Hamed could back it up, no-one has seen this kid back it up yet and it’s down to me to stop him.

“I’ve just got to listen to everything Danny Vaughan tells me to do and put the graft in, that’s why I’ve locked myself away from my family and gone to Scotland and LA to prepare for the fight, it’s about being in and around champions, it doesn’t matter that I’ve had 51 fights, success breeds success and you can only improve being around world class fighters.

“When I beat him, he’ll still take that belt out with him wherever he goes, even down the local shop. I’ve got tons of belts at home and the missus won’t even let me have them out, they’re all stuck up in the loft – he’s not a World champion, and he’s never going to be one because I’m going to smash him to bits.”

Mathews’ clash with Davies is part of packed bill at The O2 topped by the blockbuster Heavyweight grudge match between Haye and Bellew. Stourbridge banger Sam Eggington faces the biggest night of his career against former two-weight World champion Paulie Malignaggi, while Irish amateur star Katie Taylor boxes for the third time in the pros.

Tickets for Haye vs. Bellew sold out in record-breaking time when they went on sale in December.

SMITH AND WILLIAMS FACE-OFF AT FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE IN LIVERPOOL 

SMITH AND WILLIAMS FACE-OFF AT THE ICONIC ROYAL LIVER BUILDING

 

Photo credit: Mark Robinson

Fierce Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams faced-off at a press conference held at the iconic Royal Liver Building in Liverpool today ahead of their mouth-watering showdown on Saturday 8th April at the Manchester Arena, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

Former WBO World 154lbs Champion Smith was in a supremely confident mood and promised to put the Boxing Writers’ Best Young Boxer of the Year ‘in his place’ when they lock horns in April.

“This is a fight that I’m well up for”, said Smith. “Frank and a lot of other people are getting excited about Liam Williams and talking about him as the next big thing. My job is to put him back in his place and remind everyone who the best fighter in the division is.

“They’re barking up the wrong tree if they think they can make me lose my cool like Corcoran did. I don’t need to wind him up, I can end this fight however I like. If I want to drag Liam into a fight I’ll do that. Liam is a more talented fighter than Jimmy Kelly but I can see April 8th ending in a similar fashion to that fight.”

Williams, the British and WBO European Champion, is undefeated in 17 professional fights and will head into the Smith bout on a six-fight knockout streak. The rising-star of Welsh boxing believes he has the power to stop his Frank Warren stablemate.

“Smith is a couple of levels above my previous opponents,” admitted Williams. “We’re going to work on his weaknesses and not give too much away. Of course I believe I possess the power to stop him but this fight won’t just be about landing that one big shot.

“I think this is going to be a tactical fight. Everyone seems to think we are going to meet head on in the middle of the ring but I’ve got a good boxing brain on me. I’ve shown I’m capable of mixing it up and I know I have the tools to beat him.”

Smith vs. Williams is part of an unmissable evening of action at the Manchester Arena on April 8th; local hero Terry Flanagan makes the fifth defence of his WBO World Lightweight crown against dangerous Russian Petr Petrov; slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap ; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.

Elsewhere on the card former World Title challenger Jimmy Kelly takes on Bolton man Rick Godding in a tasty local tear-up; rising Super-Featherweight star Zelfa Barrett fights over six; Liverpool Super-Welterweight James Metcalf takes on Heywood’s Mark Thompson; undefeated Super-Lightweight Steven Lewis faces Andy Keates; Oldham Super-Middleweight Mark Heffron, Ellesmere Port Super-Welterweight Mason Cartwright, Manchester Cruiserweight Jordan Thompson and Super-Middleweight Anthony Leak complete a stacked card.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

JACK CATTERALL FACES MARTIN GETHIN ON FLANAGAN VS. PETROV UNDERCARD

 

THE WBO INTER-CONTINENTAL SUPER-LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

JACK CATTERALL VS. MARTIN GETHIN

Chorley’s Jack Catterall will defend his WBO Inter-Continental Super-Lightweight title against Walsall’s Martin Gethin at the Manchester Arena on Saturday 8th April.

Heavy handed Catterall’s all-action and hard-hitting style has taken him to an unbeaten 17 fight record with 9 coming by knockout and has claimed the Central Area, WBO European and Inter-Continental belts on the way.

He earned a comfortable unanimous decision against tough Argentinian Diego Gonzalo Luque last time out in December despite injuring both hands in the opening round but is determined to with in style against the current IBF International Super-Lightweight Champion.

‘The Quiet Man’, a former Midlands, English and British Lightweight Champion, upset the odds against John Wayne Hibbert last November. After being called up at less than a week’s notice, Gehtin spectacularly stopped Hibbert in the fourth round and will be heading into his clash with Catterall full of confidence.

“Martin had a good win last time out which will have given him a lot of momentum heading into our fight,” said Catterall. “He’s been a good domestic fighter over the years and has some decent wins to his name. I know he’ll be up for this fight and I’ve got the bit between my teeth; I’m well up for it!

“I never overlook any opponents and I’m going to train the hardest and the smartest that I can so that on April 8th he’ll just be another notch on my belt.

“Watching Martin and how he’s been fighting of late I can see that he’s a come forward fighter who likes to try and break his opponents down with relentless pressure. His style is perfect for me, I’ll be able to find chinks in his armour and if he keeps coming at me it’s only going to get more painful for him.

Catterall’s showdown with Gethin lands on the undercard of undefeated Terry Flanagan’s fifth defence of his WBO World Lightweight title against dangerous Russian Petr Petrov; fierce Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash in one of the most eagerly-anticipated all-British showdowns in recent times; South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a Final Eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight title; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut, with more exciting fights to be announced shortly.

Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.

FLYNN FIGHTS FOR FIRST TITLE IN GLASGOW

Mailman’ meets Collins for Celtic Lightweight strap on April 15

Charlie Flynn will fight for his first pro title when he meets Ryan Collins for the Celtic Lightweight title at the SSE Arena in Glasgow on April 15, live on Sky Sports.

Flynn has raced to 8-0 in the paid ranks since turning over in December 2014 and ‘Mailman’ will look to deliver his first pro belt at the same venue he won Commonwealth Games gold in August 2014.

The 23 year old Newarthill talent tackles his first ten round action into the bargain when he faces Irvine’s Collins – also 23 – who fought for his first belt in June where he landed the vacant Scottish Area title in Glasgow.

Ricky Burns tops the bill in Glasgow in his World Super-Lightweight unification clash with Julius Indongo, and Flynn’s is the second title bout to be added in as many days following Charlie Edwards’ meeting with Iain Butcher for the vacant British Super-Flyweight title, while Team GB Olympian Josh Kelly makes his pro debut.

Tickets for April 15 are on general sale priced £40, £60 and £100 from www.thessehydro.com and £200 VIP exclusively at www.matchroomboxing.com.

EDWARDS FACES BUTCHER FOR BRITISH SUPER-FLY STRAP World title challenger moves up for Lonsdale strap on Burns-Indongo bill

 

Charlie Edwards will challenge Iain Butcher for the vacant Super-Flyweight title on April 15 at the SSE Arena in Glasgow, live on Sky Sports.

Edwards took on John Riel Casimero for the IBF World Flyweight title at The O2 in London in September and put in a fine performance against the former Light-Flyweight king in just his ninth pro outing.

The Surrey star landed the English title at 112lbs in his fifth fight and the WBC Silver strap in his seventh, and is looking to pocket the Lord Lonsdale belt at his first attempt in his first fight under new trainer Adam Booth.

Scotsman Butcher has already tasted British title action having been edged out by Liverpool’s Kevin Satchell on Merseyside back in July 2013, and the 24 year old Motherwell man will be banking on the home support to roar him onto victory against the former Team GB talent – but Edwards believes joining Booth’s gym and moving up in weight will give him the edge north of the border.

“Teaming up with Adam has been a great move for me,” said Edwards. “Adam is a very knowledgeable man and when he speaks to me I’m in awe of him. I have the utmost respect for him and his accolades speak for them self. He has a great coaching team around him also.

“The gym is absolutely buzzing with all the fighters in there training alongside World champion Billy Joe Saunders and former World champion Andy Lee, I have got world class sparring in Ryan Burnett who is at Bantamweight and also Lucien Reid who is a Super-Bantamweight.

“I am buzzing to fight in Scotland in Butchers’ back yard. It’s a fight I have wanted for a long, long time as we have been rivals in the amateurs when we were both in the GB squad. Although we have always got on, this is a business and I can’t wait to put on a show up there and show everyone how I have come on under Adam and use the experience I have gained from my world title defeat to Casimero.

“I am feeling great at my new weight. When I moved to Adam he assessed my style and training and due to developing more power in my legs, it is the right move and you will all see that come April 15.”

Edwards and Butcher clash on the undercard of the World Super-Lightweight unification battle between WBA king Ricky Burns and WBO banger Julius Indongo.

Tickets for April 15 are on general sale priced £40, £60 and £100 from www.thessehydro.com and £200 VIP exclusively at www.matchroomboxing.com.

JOSH KELLY TURNS PRO WITH MATCHROOM BOXING

 

Josh Kelly has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing.

Kelly follows his Team GB 2016 Olympic teammates Lawrence Okolie and Joe Cordina into the paid ranks with promoter Eddie Hearn, and the flash Sunderland talent will make his pro debut on April 15 at the SSE Arena in Glasgow on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ World Super-Lightweight unification clash with Julius Indongo live on Sky Sports.

The 22 year old will be promoted by boxed at Welterweight in Rio and saw off Egypt’s Walid Sedik Mohammed in the opening round before falling to eventual gold medal man Daniyar Yeleussinov in the last 16, and Kelly is confident he can translate his amateur success into the paid ranks and thrill the fans on the journey to the top.

“I want to get fans across the whole of Britain and beyond to want to watch me and come to my fights,” said Kelly. “I think they’ll see flash and flair, and there will be KOs too. I can mix it up and fight to different game plans. There’s going to be ups and downs because I’m a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but when I put my mind to it I know can do a lot in the sport. I’ve got the right people around me and all the boxes are ticked for success.

“I drew the eventual champion in the Olympics and I really think that there were just two or three punch difference in each of the rounds, it could’ve been a different story but that’s how it goes. I’ve moved on from that.

“I could’ve stayed amateur and I think I would’ve have got to the Commonwealth Games and the next Olympics. When I was switched on and focused I don’t think anyone in Britain or Europe could come close to me.

“I’m a mature 22 year old and I want to move my life on really, I’ve spared with tough pros and dealt with that well and I know I can box well too, so the pro game will suit me, I’m business like and I think I can sell myself and be someone the fans want to buy tickets and they see something different in me that they can get behind.”

Kelly is training with Adam Booth in Surrey and will operate at Welterweight, and after just two weeks in the gym, he’s already excited about the improvements he’s made.

“Adam is top class,” said Kelly. “My style is perfect for him, he loves flair but he knows how to control it. He lets you express yourself but he doesn’t neglect the basics and keeps you focussed and he also keeps an eye on the whole thing, the nutrition and everything.

“I feel I can go all the way with Adam training me. We’re on the same wavelength even though we’ve only just started because I feel I’m learning every day. I’ve always been a quick puncher but thought I could punch hard too, but slight adjustments Adam has made has already got me punching much harder. He’s taking me from strength to strength and it’s only been a couple of weeks.”

“I’m delighted to welcome another Olympian to the team in Josh Kelly,” said Hearn. “Josh is an exceptional talent and looks a million dollars, I really feel that he can cross over and become a star in the sport. Fans are really going to enjoy following Josh’s journey on Sky Sports and I look forward to guiding him to a World title.”

Tickets for April 15 are on general sale priced £40, £60 and £100 from www.thessehydro.com and £200 VIP exclusively at www.matchroomboxing.com.