By Chris Glover
Jimmy Kelly is excited ahead of a big 2018, as the Manchester super-welterweight looks to make his way up the world rankings.
Kelly impressed last time out, stopping tough Bulgarian Stiliyan Kostov in four rounds to claim the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title on the undercard of Hughie Fury’s unsuccessful WBO heavyweight title challenge against current king Joseph Parker.
The 25-year-old, now under the guidance of trainer Lee Beard, assessed his performance and life under his new coach after moving to 23-1 with nine early.
He said: “I was really happy with my performance last time out. It felt like I had come of age and to do it at the Manchester Arena made it a very special night.
“Training with Lee is great. He’s a world-class coach. That’s why the likes of American-based Argenis Mendez and other top-class pros come in from all over the world to train with him.”
Kelly gave a gutsy display when challenging Liam Smith for the world title in 2015. Despite coming up short against Liam Smith in a challenge for the WBO crown, which could soon be vacant again after Miguel Cotto’s final fight against Sadam Ali on December 2 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Wythenshawe man reflected on the positives of his unsuccessful attempt.
“Liam Smith is a great fighter,” Kelly added when talking to Boxing Scene, “and it was a pleasure to share the ring with him.
“If that fight had happened now maybe things would have been different, but I learned a lot from that fight and I think learning curves like that are what can eventually get you to a world title and that’s the aim.”
Kelly now has a number six ranking with the WBO, making him very easy to be picked for another world title tilt in 2018.
And he elaborated on his plans for 2018.
“Basically, I want to get back in a world title fight in 2018, that’s the plan.
“I know my team is working hard to make things happen for me and I’m confident that I’ll be in big fights next year.”