As Josh Kelly looks to continue his rise, Sky Sports spoke to the North East star about his fight preparations and a “competitive” gym life alongside Ryan Burnett and Michael Conlan.
Kelly has been meticulously guided by Adam Booth since he made the transition to the paid ranks over a year ago and he will look to win his first major belt this weekend, in Newcastle, when he battles Kris George for the Commonwealth welterweight title, live on Sky Sports.
It is a gym under Booth that has rapidly become one of the very best – if not the best – in British boxing, with WBA bantamweight king Ryan Burnett leading the way.
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Irish amateur standout Conlan, who is making his own astounding waves in the professional format, is the latest to join the thriving set-up and Kelly admits the three of them are bringing the “absolute best” out of each other.
“Ryan and Michael are my two closest training partners, we live, work and train together, so it’s quality, absolutely quality,” Kelly told Sky Sports.
“We all work alongside each other and it always brings out that extra edge in training. If two of you are on the bag trying to outwork one another or if it’s runs, leg circuits, anything, we’re always competitive.
“It doesn’t help that they’re lighter and faster, this that and the other, but I am managing to keep up, so I feel my fitness is beyond where it needs to me.
Kelly has spoken before about exemplary figure Burnett and says that the world champion’s advice and support is priceless, especially when ‘Pretty Boy’ is overcritical of his own work.
0:54 Josh 'Pretty Boy' Kelly headlines in front of his hometown fans this Saturday. Coverage starts at 7pm on Sky Sports Action
“Ryan will say things sometimes and I just think ‘wow! How can you say that about me when you’re a double world champion, you’ve won two world titles back-to-back,” Kelly added.
“I get little bits of advice, things like Ryan saying ‘I would put you in for a world title now’ and stuff like that. I’ll just laugh and reply ‘you’re crazy’ but sometimes he’s genuine.
2:56 Kelly and Burnett workout together
“Then I look back and think ‘yeah, you were alright there’. I am my own biggest critic. I come out of training thinking that was the worst thing ever, but everyone else is looking at me saying ‘you’re round the bend!’
“I’m mentally and physically ready for any fight and I put a lot of it down to my life and experience in the gym.
“I think Ryan and Michael will both be there on Saturday so it’ll be brilliant if I see them in my corner.”
Kris George versus Josh Kelly and Lewis Ritson against Paul Hyland Jr is on Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Saturday night.