Between giving speeches to schools and getting called out by fellow prospects, it’s been a busy last few months for the former semi-pro veteran.
On Saturday night at the National Stadium he will make his pro bow, boxing on the Red Corner Promotions ‘Champions Elect’ bill in a four rounder against Damian Lawniczak [4(0)-23(4)-1]
The Monkstown 22 year old has been waiting a while for his debut, and admits it is all now starting to feel real.
Kelly recalled to Irish-Boxing.com how “it was February, after the semi-pro show, we sat down and talked about it. When I signed the papers it sort of hit home, but throughout training camp it didn’t really – this week everyone’s wishing me the best, asking about weight and all that, it’s really hitting home.”
“Training’s been great. Personally, myself, I’m happy with it, I can’t complain. I’ve a strength coach, I’ve a new boxing coach, my schedule’s busy, I’m in three or four times a day, I’m just buzzing to get going.”
In particular Kelly – who has numerous knockouts to his name in the semi-pros – can feel his natural pop building.
“I’ve noticed it in my power,” explained a fighter who is working his way down towards super featherweight.
“I’ve always just done cardio and boxing work, I’ve never added strength training into my programme. Since I’ve started strength training consistently twelve weeks ago I can really see it. Even the coaches and lads are saying it, that my power is shooting through the roof. I’m happy with that.”
“I’ve always been a big puncher from junior right up to where I am now. I used to be a heavy young lad when I was growing up so I used to have a bit of a knock about me and I’ve never lost it, I haven’t dropped an ounce of power, if anything I’ve gained it.”
Kelly is aware of the business side of professional boxing, and has been receiving support from some unlikely places,
The big puncher noted how “I’ve always had a big following so I’m hoping to keep that going and hopefully they follow me into the pro game. Selling tickets is the hardest part of the pro game.”
“I’ve teachers from my previous schools coming to watch me! It’s good.”
When asked whether the teachers will be in attendance to support or to see a past pupil take a few digs, Kelly jokingly replied “probably both!”
“Ah no, they’re all delighted, they all text me when it got announced. I was brought up to the school, I had to do a speech and all.”
Kelly is keen to be kept busy, and already has fight number two lined up for Friday October 20th on the inaugural SK Promotions card at the CityWest in Saggart
The St Margaret’s graduate described how “I’m looking to have three fights by Christmas, there’s three shows [in Dublin] coming up so hopefully my management team can get me onto the three of them.”
“If not, two fights, I’ll be happy with that and hopefully get out early 2018. I want a busy year.”
“I’m ready to fight, you give me a shout for a fight in two weeks – I’ll take the fight in two weeks. I’m fighting on the 7th then again on the 20th, a lot of fighters would be like ‘oh no, I want a rest, I don’t want to be out again that quick.'”
“If I’m out every month, every two months, I’ll be happy.”
Managed by Jay Byrne, a veteran of three fights with top prospects on Sky Sports shows, Kelly wants to be involved in big scraps on the Irish domestic scene.
Indeed there have already been some murmurings of a clash with Crumlin’s Aiden Metcalfe [1(0)-0] – and the selection of Lawniczak as a debut opponent, a fighter defeated by Metcalfe by just one point last month, will only add to this.
Explaining his outlook, Kelly reasoned that “I’ve always looked up to Jay. Since I started boxing with him four years ago, me and Jay have always had a very good connection. His mentality is rubbing off on mine, to take the big fights.”
“I’m not going to take easy fights, there’s no point, why dodge people? If people want to call me out, so be it.”
“I won’t bite, but I will take the fight!”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)