The Monkstown lightweight edged Crumlin’s Martin Quinn following a six-round war in the ‘Celtic Clash 7’ chief support at the Good Counsel GAA Club
Referee David Irving scored the bout 58-57 in Kelly’s favour – much to the displeasure of Quinn, his management, his supporters, and, especially, Phil Sutcliffe Sr.
Most ringside, including this publication, had Quinn winning the fight but Kelly, correctly, notes that he won on the scorecard of the only man who mattered.
‘Little Sexy’ told Irish-Boxing.com that “we can’t say who won that fight, Martin can’t say who won that fight, it’s what the referee sees, we can’t change that.”
“It’s like a football match, you can’t change if a goal goes in.”
“It’s a gentleman’s sport, the fans should respect what way it is. I got beat and my fans accepted it.”
“Martin’s not happy but, look, you’re never happy getting beaten. Who’s happy getting beaten?”
Kelly’s manager, Jay Byrne, has stated he felt Quinn [2(1)-1(0)] got the better of the fight while coach Declan Geraghty Sr is adamant that his man got the win.
The fighter himself does not, and never does, know.
“To be honest, I don’t know [if I won],” claimed Kelly.
“I never know if I’ve won a fight or not, especially wars where you don’t know what way it’s going.”
“I rocked Martin in the third round, maybe the referee should have stepped in and had a look,” he added.
During the build-up Quinn had stated that Kelly, who had lost successive fights to unbeaten prospects, ‘needed’ the win more and the youngster agreed with this.
Reflecting on the importance of an early crossroads clash, Kelly admitted that “it’s good to be back to winning ways and, I don’t like saying this, but my career was on the line.”
“I needed to go out and win this, if I didn’t win this I’d be sitting down asking ‘do I want to be a journeyman or do I hang the gloves up?’ I’m only 23! I don’t want to stop.”
Most agree now that a rematch between the pair is the logical next step – and Boxing Ireland Promotions have received provisional approval from the Boxing Union of Ireland for the repeat to be a BUI Celtic title fight.
Kelly revealed that he has other options but admits that a Quinn rematch appeals to him most.
“I’d fight him again,” he promised. “Phil’s not happy and obviously Phil will be looking for the rematch.”
“There are two other fights there looking to be lined up but if Martin wants a rematch… I’d fight Martin tomorrow.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Flanagan