BLOOD-SOAKED Josh Kelly was given oxygen in the ring after a savage stoppage at the hands of David Avanesyan.
The welterweight war was delayed three years by injury and coronavirus.
Josh Kelly was bloddied as he was stopped by David Avanesyan[/caption]
Kelly was knocked down twice before his corner threw in the towel the sixth round[/caption]
But when the pair did finally get it on, it would only last six rounds as Sunderland fighter Kelly was pulled out by trainer Adam Booth when he was in deep trouble after two knockdowns.
But the brutal battering, which say Avanesyan defend his European welterweight title, did not please everyone in the Russian warhorse’s corner – as his trainer had bet on him to win in the seventh!
Brit coach Carl Greaves said: “I was so confident he would win, even though people called me crazy.
“But I’m a bit gutted because I had £500 on round seven.”
Kelly – who suffered his first professional defeat – oozed class from the off, making Avanesyan miss and tagging him when he dared to put a foot wrong.
In the second, Kelly stunned Avanesyan with a perfect left hook and he stumbled back and bounced off the ropes.
But the fight turned when the Sunderland lad started bleeding from a nasty gash on the left side of the back of his head.
Despite blood pouring down his left shoulder, the bearded Kelly was now involved in a back-and-forth battle.
That was until Avanesyan caught Kelly with a left hook in the sixth which smashed the blood across the ring.
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The rock-hard Mackem took a count but bravely climbed off the floor.
But when he was battered again with a right hook, mentor Booth chucked in the white towel to save his man.
The 2016 Team GB Olympian had medical assistance in the corner but walked away on his own.