Anthony Joshua, Kal Yafai inspire boxing prospect Josh Kelly ahead of Birmingham bout

Sunderland boxer Josh Kelly.
Sunderland boxer Josh Kelly.

Josh Kelly will box another ‘winning’ fighter when he takes to the ring for the second time.

The Sunderland sensation has been matched with Jony Vina, from Spain, in Birmingham on Saturday.

I look at Anthony Joshua and Kal Yafai, who were in the Team GB set up like me, and it’s inspiring


Kelly had been due to appear on the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko bill at Wembley two Saturdays ago, only to be ‘timed out’ because of the show’s tight schedule.

But Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has him back in action straight away and the 23-year-old is happy to be facing another opponent who comes to win and wants to win.

Vina has won six of his seven bouts, his only defeat coming via a split decision.

It follows on from Kelly’s debut at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow against give-it-his-all Dubliner Jay Byrne, who had also just lost once.

Kelly says trainer Adam Booth and Hearn’s policy is the right way for him to move quickly and he has total faith in the direction they are taking him.

“Adam has high hopes, he wants us to move fast in the game so that’s why Jay Byrne was picked as my debut opponent,” said the Ryhope lad.

“A lot of my future opponents will be with winning records or unbeaten fighters, it’s the only real way of progressing.

“Eddie, along with Adam, sort it out and I just do the boxing.

“I know what I’m capable of and how far I can go, so I just keep switched on with the fighting and let them carve out my route.

“I have put my trust fully in their hands which I know is going to work for us all.”

Kelly will be boxing on the undercard of Kal Yafai’s first defence of his WBA world super-flyweight title against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena.

British boxing is truly on a high with Yafai GB’s lightest champ defending his belt a fortnight after the heaviest, Joshua, won his IBF/WBA showdown with Klitschko.

Kelly says both men spur him on because of what they have achieved ion a short space of time since going from brilliant amateurs to world champs.

“I look at Anthony Joshua and Kal Yafai, who were in the Team GB set up like me and it’s inspiring,” said the 2016 Olympian.

“I watched them both train and I get on with them both as well. Seeing how they have developed and what they have got drives me on.

“It was only a couple of years ago they were on the GB squad, so with the hard work I know I can follow in their footsteps.

“Actually, knowing them in person and seeing what they have done, It gives you a boost.”

Kelly’s six-round bout will be shown live on Sky Sports on Saturday night.”