Troy Williamson says he will not need power to beat Josh Kelly in their British title fight on Friday and believes he is well capable of outboxing the former Olympian.

Williamson puts his British super-welterweight title on the line for the second time against the highly touted Kelly in Newcastle on Friday, a fight that will be live on Channel 5. The pair know each other well having been both members of the GB squad in Sheffield, where Kelly was one of the stars.

But Williamson did not hold back at Wednesday’s press conference and accused Kelly of lacking heart.

“All I need to do is turn up and perform," Williamson said. “The hard work has been done. I’m hitting tremendous numbers with my strength and conditioning and even out on runs; I’m in a great position mentally and physically. You’re going to see on fight night.

“I’ve said it before, I probably don’t need to say it again, but I believe he lacks heart. I feel it’s bred in people, one thing’s for certain is that it’s bred in me, but we’re going to see on Friday if Josh has got it because I’m going to take him to deep waters. He’s in for a tough night.

“I’m not necessarily going in there to try and take him out. A lot of people underestimate my boxing skills, I’ve been a part of Team GB and boxed elite amateurs around the world, so don’t underestimate my boxing. I can box, and don’t for a moment think I can’t out-box Josh Kelly.”

The match is a North-East derby with Williamson coming from Darlington and Kelly from Sunderland, less than 30 miles apart. And Williamson believes he will have the lion's share of the support in the Utilita Arena

“I wouldn’t say there’s bad blood, but everyone is tuning in to see me though,” Williamson said.

But Kelly says that Williamson would be foolish to try to outbox him

“I’d like to see him do it,” Kelly said. “If he wants to try and box me that’ll be good, he’ll be a silly man to do that but I think it’s going to go how I want it to go on the night.

“All of the pressure is on Troy. I’ve operated at top levels, I’ve boxed at Madison Square Garden, I’ve been with ex-world champions. I know exactly what these big events are like with the pressure it brings, when he walks to that ring he’s going to feel it on Friday night.

“If you look at Troy, then look at me, there’s things I do better. Stylistically it’s a great matchup. Troy comes forward and tries to fight, I box, so it makes for good television. When you go and watch fights you either like the fighter or you like the boxer, and I think that’s why everyone wants to tune in.

“When I’ve thought about this fight, I’ve seen Troy hurt.”

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.