21 August 2010 – Steve Wellings
Not too many mainstream boxing fans have even heard of Michael Kelly, let alone give him much a chance of an unlikely victory over Frankie Gavin on September 18.
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com as he enters week six of intense preparations, the Dundalk native is quietly confident of upsetting the applecart and handing the much hyped Englishman his first professional loss.
People keep asking me if Im going to win but Im not taking this fight for money or any other reason, I think I will win, stated Kelly.
If I box as well as I know I can then Ill beat Frankie Gavin. Hes under the pressure not me; hes the star home fighter with his crowd, looking to impress and if he tries to put on a show and get into a fight then that will suit me even better. In their eyes [Gavins team] I am there to be beaten. They see that I have a good amateur pedigree and view me as a stepping stone, with the Irish title as a good belt for him to win on the way to a world title.
Since turning pro in 2004 Kelly has amassed an 8-1-1 (2 KOs) slate, blighted by lengthy spells away from the ring.
Im sure Gavin will be viewing me as an inactive boxer whos getting old. Giving me plenty of notice for this fight is a big mistake for them though, because with eight week’s preparation I believe I can beat anybody. Inactivity and problems outside of the ring have hurt my career. Im hoping to get a few things sorted out which has affected my boxing and when that comes to an end, if I get a result against Gavin and get back on track, then Ill move on up. Time is ticking on, I know that, but I still have a few years left in the game.
At 35 years old moving up from lightweight to light-welterweight will also benefit Kelly and the weight making process will no doubt be aided by his training regime in John Breens Belfast gym, which is always kept on the slightly warm side.
The weight is great, added Michael, making lightweight wasnt too easy and moving up to light-welterweight suits me fine. Ive been sparring Michael McLaughlin, Willie Thompson and Im starting to spar Paul McCloskey this week. Ill have 150 rounds of sparring done by fight night.
Frankie Gavin and Paul McCloskey would have similar styles although I believe McCloskey would be harder to hit than Gavin. I wont get any better sparring than these guys. Im even going in with flyweight Jamie Conlan the more different styles the better for me.
Kelly still laments his sole professional loss, a ten-round points reverse to unheralded Canadian Buzz Grant. Not only did Michael have to struggle down to lightweight before flying abroad, but there were some other, more unusual, aspects of the trip he had to contend with.
I weighed in at 11 oclock in the morning and was in the ring at 7 oclock that night, he explained.
I had to travel over to Canada, then make lightweight and then after that they do same-day weigh-ins over there. I was only training for 2 and a half weeks before that fight, a bit of padwork and then time on the bags. The fellow I was fighting (Buzz Grant) was no good and I maybe took it a bit lightly anyway.
Whats done is done I suppose and I know in myself that if I fought Grant again then Id train hard and expect to stop him in four or five rounds. He was super fit but I killed myself making weight and Id fight him again if I got the chance, no problem.
Putting Buzz to one side the only thing on Michaels mind at the moment is 7-0 (6 KOs) superkid Frankie Gavin, the precocious Brummie southpaw standing in the way of Irish title glory on the Magnificent Seven card.
Things have been mentioned for after the Gavin fight if I give a good performance but Im not even considering anything else at the moment; the Irish title and Frankie Gavin is all that Im looking at, revealed Kelly.
I always said that I wanted to win an Irish title, no matter what weight I fight at. Who knows, it could be a good stepping stone for me on September 18.