Troy Williamson and Josh Kelly forego friendship for the British belt
Today saw a heated launch conference ahead of the epic North East battle for the British Super Welterweight Championship confirmed between Darlington’s Troy Williamson (19-0-1, 14KOs) and Sunderland’s Josh Kelly (12-1-1, 7 KOs) at the Utilita Arena, Newcastle on Friday December 2, live on Channel 5.
Both boxers count each other as long-term friends but have also each said that friendship has been well and truly pushed aside and that it's stricly business from here on out.
Here's what they had to say:
Troy Williamson: This is the fight I wanted. I like Josh, we’ve travelled together when we did the junior stuff, but it’s a business at the end of the day, and we’ll be getting down to business on December 2.
I think Josh has had a good ride, and I don’t think he’s anywhere near done regardless of some people saying he might be; he’s still only a young lad. He had a lot of hype about him at the start of his career, but I don’t think he’s propelled as much as people thought he was going to. Now he’s fighting for the British title, and it’s time for me to end his career. I do believe that I will do that.
Josh Kelly: 100% confident, I think this fight has come at a perfect time for me. I’ve boxed on big events, and I’ve been under the bright lights before, so I know what this feels like. I’m more experienced in that department and I know it’s my time now to go and take this British title with both hands.
The North East is quite a small place so you get good sparring where you can. Troy was good sparring, and we came through Team GB where we saw a lot of each other. I know the level of skill and desire I possess which makes this the perfect fight and perfect timing for me to take this. I’m raring to go.
That British title is something that means a lot to anyone in this country. My eyes are also on the big, world titles as well so to get there you have to beat the likes of Troy Williamson.
Ending my career? No that can’t happen. I’m only 28-years-old and I’m still young in this sport and Troy is older, so me winning this British title could be the flip side of what he sees and I could be the one who ends his career. Where is he going after I take that title? There’s not many options for him, and it’s going to be an enjoyable night for me, let me tell you.
Kalle Sauerland: Two guys, two gladiators, who absolutely love it. I struggle to think of areas of the world, let alone in the UK, where sports means more to them than the North East. It’s going to be a packed house, and the great thing is that it’s for the British title. Something that is so pure in this sport, and naturally leads to bigger things.
You talk about final eliminators, or big fights that break you out onto the world scene, the winner on December 2 WILL have that breakthrough; that’s a given. The reward for these two getting through a very hard training camp will be the platform of Channel 5, a nationwide audience, screened to countries around the world. It’s a huge fight that I believe will not only determine the careers of these fighters, but will entertain the entire nation. I’m just extremely excited to be back in the North East on December 2.
I remember looking at the situation as a fan from the outside, and I’ve never seen a fighter who was built up like a rocket and launched to 100 like he was. He took one loss early in his career just like many world champions I’ve promoted before, Wladimir Klitschko lost multiple times before going on to defend his heavyweight belts for a decade. I thought Josh losing once early in his career was exaggerated, it was a bit like the end of the sun and the moon all at once. Josh Kelly then is a completely different fighter to Josh Kelly now. The great thing about this British title fight is that it’s a true step forward for one of these, but ultimately we know what Josh can do. He’s in the hands of Adam Booth, who I rate as one of the best trainers over the past decades, and I have complete faith in them.
Sam Jones: As soon as the fight started to get mentioned I think Troy rang everybody he could to get this fight on. Everybody loves these big domestic fights. I’ve known Troy a long time and he has never turned any opponent down, and he wasn’t going to start with Josh Kelly.
There’s a lot of big fights not happening in boxing at the minute for one reason or another, but both guys need a lot of credit for making this fight happen because they could have very easily gone down separate routes. They both took the fight, I fully expect Troy to win, and it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere. I’ve been involved in a few fights up in the North East and they really back their own whether it’s football or any other sport, I just want them to back the event and make sure they come out because it’s going to be a special night for the North East.
Troy is always in entertaining fights. He hasn’t tasted a defeat yet, but win, lose, or draw; he’s in entertaining fights. I believe all the pressure is on Josh in this fight. No one should be judged on one defeat, and Josh Kelly is a good boxer who still may go on to big things. However, if you look at what people thought he would achieve when he first started then you’d say he hasn’t hit them heights. If you look at the bookies favourite for this, I’d say it’s probably Kelly. When it gets hard in there though, Troy gets better.
Adam Booth: This has come at the right time for the fans especially, they’re two fighters who are both in their prime. They’re two guys who want to test themselves and see how good they can be and put themselves against the best; so this is definitely a match made in heaven.
There was no hesitation from our side. I had a call from the boxing board of control to say they’re putting out some nominations and do we want the fight? I phoned Josh who straight away said yes; it took less than five minutes to get this confirmed with the board.