THE RESULT: Josh Kelly ends his Sunderland homecoming in style by halting unknown Colombian Placido Ramirez at the two minute and 28 seconds mark of the third round (scheduled for 12). The finish arrived via a right uppercut which had Ramirez sinking to his knees, clearly distressed, and ultimately unable to beat referee John Latham’s count.
KEY MOMENTS: Always in the ascendancy, Kelly kept Ramirez on the end of his jab in the early going before exploding with a variety of hooks and uppercuts. Notably, in round two, he landed a peach of a right uppercut which wobbled the legs of Ramirez and had him appearing dejected on his way back to the stool at the round’s conclusion. It was a precursor to what was to follow: 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 once more be tested. It’s all well and good Kelly showcasing his vast amount of talent in this manner, but until he is again challenged it is hard to know what a performance like this means. At best, you can say he dealt with an unheralded opponent in a professional manner and that, rather than simply dominate and cruise to a decision win, he put his foot down and delivered an eye-catching finish. But there is still clearly so much more to come.
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 is time once again for him to be let off the leash. One wonders whether a certain Conor Benn will feature in his future, what with Benn seemingly unable to secure a meaningful fight at this present time. “Domestic fights, world title fights, that’s what I want,” said Kelly. “(Chris) Eubank, Benn, get any of them down here.”