The Crumlin light welterweight has Tokyo dreams and aspirations of pro stardom – and an attitude which could help him get there.
Kelly won the National Senior [Intermediate] title at the weekend, defeating Daniel Kyne in the 64kg final in front of the biggest and loudest crowd of the night.
The 22-year-old was delighted to see the fruits of his labour and explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “the build-up, everything, all me mates going on holidays this year and I’m staying behind, training while they’re in Canada and Ibiza – I just stuck to my training, stuck to myself, and it’s all paying off in the end.”
“I’ve been training all year, I haven’t stopped. I’ve graduated from college and I was going to go use my degree to become a teacher but I thought I’d put that on the back foot and have a go as a boxer.”
Outlining his big plans, Kelly described how “I want to go pro – I’ll hopefully win the Elites, beat Wayne Kelly, I hope he’s listening, then go to the Olympic qualifiers then Tokyo 2020 and, after that, go pro.”
“And, if it doesn’t work for me, I can always be a teacher!”
Around a good while, Kelly cuts a more mature figure than many in the championships
The aggressive and powerful Dubliner explained how “I entered when I was 18 and lost in the semi-final and then broke my hand the following year, this was my first time coming back fully fit without an injury. I was meant to enter last year but my hand was bothering me, I couldn’t train properly, so I didn’t bother.”
“I was boxing six days a week with no strength and conditioning and I started blowing my shoulders out, so I put on a bit more weight, a bit more muscle, and now I’m never injured.”
Kelly’s dedication will continue right throughout December and into the new year, with the fighter detailing how “I’m going to Copenhagen next week and then I’m going to box in Rome on the 18th of December then, after Christmas, straight back in the gym for the Elites in February.”
“2019 is going to be a big year for me, keep an eye out.”