David Avanesyan and Josh Kelly are once again ready to fight.
Of course, it still requires both boxers actually making their way to the ring.
The pair of welterweights came well within the 147-pound welterweight limit for their 12-round main event, which takes place Saturday live on Sky Sports and DAZN from SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England.
Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14KOs) weighed 146.4 pounds ahead of his third attempted title defense of the EBU welterweight title. Kelly (10-0-1, 7KOs) tipped the scale at a lean and ripped 146 pounds for his second scheduled 12-round affair.
Even with the fight having been postponed numerous times in getting to this point, both boxers have been here before. The two both made weight for their planned Dec. 2018 clash, only for Kelly to fall and have to withdraw on the morning of the fight.
Avaneysan was none too pleased with the development, although his career has actually soared to new heights as a result.
The former secondary welterweight titlist from Newark, England by way of Tabynskoe, Russia remains best known for handing ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley the final defeat of his Hall of Fame career in a May 2016 unanimous decision win. Avanesyan lost the belt in his first defense, as he was outpointed by Lamont Peterson in Feb. 2017. Two fights later came a knockout loss to then-unbeaten Egidijus Kavaliauskas in Feb. 2018, which was to have been followed by the showdown with Kelly.
From the fallout came a pair of career-resurrecting knockout wins over Kerman Lejarraga, both on the road in Bilbao, Spain. Lejarraga was unbeaten at the time Avanesyan rallied to stop the Spaniard in the 9th round of their March 2019 clash to win the EBU belt. Matters ended much quicker in their rematch six months later, with Avanesyan scoring a 1st round stoppage before setting his sights on Kelly.
Both sides agreed to terms for a title fight, only to take separate interim bouts beforehand. Avanesyan returned to Spain, where he blasted out Jose del Rio inside of one round in their Dec. 2019 clash, his last to date.
Kelly fought one week later in the United States, outpointing Wiston Campos on a Dec. 2019 DAZN show in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the second consecutive stateside appearance for the 2016 Great Britain Olympian from Sunderland, England, having fought to a disappointing 10-round draw with Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson the prior June at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Kelly has been eager ever since to settle matters with Avanesyan, in part to dismiss any claims that he was avoiding the fight. The universe clearly had other ideas, as the two were due to meet last March 28 only for the event to get wiped out by the first wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing and health regulations shut down plans for at least two other attempts to get the bout over the line, including their previously announced January 30 date which was scrapped due to the spike in cases from the new COVID strain which hit the U.K.
The three-week delay has only further heightened anticipation in their evenly matched welterweight bout. Still, everyone will feel much better once the opening bell sounds.
WEIGHTS FOR SKY SPORTS/DAZN UNDERCARD BOUTS
Florian Marku (7-0-1, 5KOs), London, England, 146.5 pounds vs. Rylan Charlton (6-0-1, 3KOs), Norwich, England, 144.4 pounds—10 rounds, welterweight
Robbie Davies Jr. (20-2, 13KOs), Kirkby, England, 138.1 pounds vs. Gabriel Valenzuela (22-2-1, 13KOs), Guadalajara, Mexico, 138.5 pounds—10 rounds, junior welterweight
Jordan Gill (25-1, 7KOs), Chatteris, England, 125.3 pounds vs. Cesar Juarez (25-9, 19KOs), Mexico City, Mexico, 125.1 pounds—10 rounds, featherweight
Johnny Fisher (debut), Romford, England, 237.6 pounds vs. Matt Gordon (2-5-1, KOs), West Bromwich, England, 241.6 pounds—6 rounds, heavyweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox