THE RESULT: Josh Kelly ended his Sunderland homecoming in style by stopping unknown Colombian Placido Ramirez at the two minute and 28 seconds mark of the third round (scheduled for 12). The finish came from a right uppercut that had Ramirez sinking to his knees, clearly distressed, and ultimately unable to beat referee John Latham’s count.
KEY MOMENTS: Always in control, Kelly kept Ramirez at bay with his jab in the early stages before unleashing a variety of hooks and uppercuts. Particularly in round two, he landed a powerful right uppercut that staggered Ramirez and left him looking disheartened as he returned to his corner at the end of the round. It was a foreshadowing of what was to come: the finish.
RECORDS: The 29-year-old Kelly’s record now stands at 15-1-1 (8), while Ramirez, also 29, falls to 24-4 (17).
TALKING POINT: The need for Kelly to face a tougher opponent. While it’s impressive to see Kelly showcase his talents in this fashion, until he faces a challenge, it’s difficult to gauge the significance of a performance like this. At best, one can say he handled an underestimated opponent professionally and decisively, with an eye-catching finish. However, there is clearly much more to come from Kelly.
QUOTABLE: “It’s all gone to plan,” said Kelly. “It’s all gone very smoothly. I was taking my time, seeing my shots, and I was just patient. I told everyone I was punching with more power. I was telling everyone I had world-class power. No one believes it until they have to feel it. The shot you don’t see coming is the shot that hurts you.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? At 29, Kelly needs to make his move. He has shown marked improvements since losing against David Avanesyan in 2021, and now it’s time for him to be given more challenging opportunities. One wonders if a potential fight with Conor Benn is on the horizon, especially since Benn seems to be struggling to secure meaningful fights at the moment. “Domestic fights, world title fights, that’s what I want,” said Kelly. “(Chris) Eubank, Benn, get any of them down here.”