In December last year, Houghton and District ABC boxer Josh Kelly went out to Armenia to represent England in what was his first international tournament. As we reported in December Josh guaranteed himself a bronze medal after three good victories.
He would have to settle for that bronze though, as he lost to eventual gold medalist and boxer of the tournament Cuba’s Kevin Hayler Brown. Upon returning from Armenia Josh gave the following interview about his fantastic achievement:
1) How happy are you to come away from your first international tournament with a bronze medal?
It’s an amazing achievement to be picked to go to the world championships, but to come away with a medal is something else. I’m now ranked number 3 in the world youth’s (U19’s) and I can’t take the smile off my face !!!!
2) Is there any disappointment not to get gold?
When the Cuban number 1 (Kevin Brown) not only goes on to win gold but then receives the best boxer of the tournament award out of the 390 competitors. I was gutted in a way, knowing that our bout was so close and could have went either way. It makes it all the harder but I am still over the moon with a medal at my first major tournament.
3) Do you think there was anything differently you could have done to beat the Cuban Kevin Brown?
If the gap going in to the second round was in my favour – which I thought would have been fair seeing as though I was 1 up in the first – I would have stood off and brought the Cuban on taking him off his back foot. But because I was trailing by a point I felt as though I needed to pressure and he was a natural counter puncher.
4) The Cuban was ranked no. 1 so there should be no shame in losing to him though right?
There is no shame losing to anybody in the world championships as they’re all world-class but there is certainly no shame in losing a very tight bout to a Cuban who won the tournament, but you always strive to be the best.
5) Overall how good was the experience in Armenia?
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It was a professional setup and the international experience, not only in boxing sense but weight management etc, was amazing!
6) That was your first international tournament, making it an even better achievement, were you expecting to do so well?
Being the first international tournament I don’t think any one was expecting me to go as far so early, but I always had silent confidence in myself that I could get somewhere!
7) Have you learnt new things out there?
I have learnt how to control the bout a lot more and sit on a lead not wearing myself out for the next day of boxing, as I boxed 4 times in 5 days.
8) How will these things help you in the future in boxing?
It will hopefully help me progress and keep building on the experience I’ve gained out in such a prestigious competition.
9) Does your focus now switch to retaining your ABA title in the new year?
Yeah, the focus will be on hopefully getting somewhere in the senior ABAs (moving up for the first year from the ABA juniors) and really starting to make my name in the men’s rankings.
10) How much of a challenge will it be to adapt to the seniors? and are you still confident you can win it though?
I’ve boxed senior bouts for the last year and a half and adapted to the change quite well. I think I’m maturing well and handling the step up in age with the senior bouts I’ve had.
11) Was it been hard been away from your family in Armenia?
It was very hard, but the thought of how much they want you to do well as much as yourself keeps you focused!
12) What was the most pleasing fight for you when you were out there and why?
The most pleasing fight was the second bout of the tournament against the polish kid (Kazimeriz Legowski) as he was highly ranked and a tall, rangy southpaw. I coped with him so well and eventually gave him a count. I stopped him on a disqualification for tiring and holding on. My confidence grew and I knew that I could start making headway in the competition.
13) I know you model as well and obviously boxing is the type of sport that wouldn’t usually be associated with the sport but does it in a way help you because your more concerned about taking a shot and ruining the looks and therefore your defence is a lot tighter?
I’ve got to think about winning the bout and performing to the best of my ability to the tactics given firstly, but I do think the style of boxing I use has probably saved me from a lot of punches and helped me with the modeling so in a way the modeling seemed to help in the sense of not getting hit!
14) If you had to choose one out of boxing/modelling, which would it be and why?
Although I love both it would have to be boxing, it’s my game and would love to succeed in the world of boxing getting somewhere but for now they both work well together.
15) What kind of future do you think you have in this sport? would you like to be professionally licensed?
Hopefully with the right guidance and a bit of luck I could go far in the sport. After doing what I wish to do as an amateur I would love to turn over and start a career in the pro game, only after achieving what I want as an amateur firstly though. (Josh has previously told us that the ultimate amateur dream is to box in the Olympics).
16) lastly, is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d just like to give a big thanks to all the coaches at Houghton Boxing for the time and effort they put in with me, and thanks for all the support that people have given me through Facebook etc it means a lot and I wouldn’t be where I am now with out it.
Sorry for the delay in publishing the interview. We would like to congratulate Josh on his outstanding achievement and wish him the best in this years ABAs, as he attempts to crack the senior’s for the first time!