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Josh Kelly felt the pressure in David Avanesyan loss but he can return stronger, says Johnny Nelson

Johnny Nelson on Josh Kelly: “This is something he’s never been through so this is why he reacted the way he did.” The talented 26-year-old’s unbeaten record was ended by David Avanesyan on Saturday

By Johnny Nelson

Josh Kelly felt pressure for the ‘first time’ in his defeat by David Avanesyan but he should have fresh desire to make a successful return, says Johnny Nelson.

In the sternest test of his career, Kelly began well before fading as Avanesyan’s relentless pressure eventually overwhelmed the 26-year-old at The SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday night.

Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth was forced to throw in the towel after two knockdowns in the sixth round and Sky Sports expert Nelson wants to see how the Olympian recovers from his first professional loss.

“We talked about that gut check when the pressure is on,” Nelson told Sky Sports.

“I’m not saying Josh Kelly hasn’t got guts because he has, the kid can fight, but you know when you’re put under pressure for the first time and you’ve got to find your way out, this is what was happening, this is what was unravelling.

“Now Josh has got to go back and think. He’s got things to work on. He’s got things to improve on.

“He’s very good at sussing out the rhythm of a fighter instantly. That’s why he looks so good, that’s why he’s able to box the way he does and look good at it, but it’s about how much he wants it. Going through that, he will come back again.”

A win over Avanesyan would have led to increased calls for an intriguing domestic clash with Conor Benn.

The manner of the loss, however, has forced Kelly to re-evaluate his future plans, with Benn questioning whether his British rival might move up in weight.

But Nelson is confident he can recover from the setback.

“Just because he lost doesn’t mean it’s over for him,” said Nelson. “He can come back and learn from that. Fighters need to understand that a loss doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.

“This is something he’ll learn from, something he’ll learn to adjust. This is something he’s never been through so this is why he reacted the way he did.

“He’s got a good team around him. It’s not about his boxing ability.

“It’s about what’s in his head, what’s in his heart, how much he really wants it. He can come back from that.”

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