The next step to top world level.
That is Josh Kelly’s journey this week in Sheffield where he defends his WBA International welterweight title against former world champion David Avanesyan.
The Sunderland boxer is in the Steel City already, taking part in a public work-out on Wednesday with coach and guiding light, Adam Booth.
Kelly has cleared every hurdle to date, winning this World Boxing Association belt against Mexican tough-guy Carlos Molina on the Anthony Joshua undercard in Cardiff, and defending it successfully against Kris George in June in Newcastle, where he added the Commonwealth title for good measure.
Since that seventh-round stoppage, he has blown away Argentina’s Walter Castillo before you could say ‘Josh Kelly will be world champion’.
That is the destination Booth, Kelly and Eddie Hearn are confident they are dashing towards.
Kelly has achieved much already in an eight-fight professional career but victory over Avanesyan at the FlyDSA Arena will really see him moving at pace.
Avanesyan is his hardest assignment yet – the UK-based Armenian has lost only three times in 27 bouts and is a former world champ.
“Adam is moving me quickly,” said the boxer known as ‘Pretty Boy’.
“It’s been a short turn around since the last fight in Manchester.
“Avanesyan is an ex-world champion. He’s boxed Mosley and Peterson who are at the top level.
“I’ve done my due diligence and we think this is the right step.
“I’m ready to make that leap and I’m hoping he can test me.
“The welterweight division is stacked from top to bottom and that excites me and helps me to switch on to remain there for the coming years.
“I’ve won two belts but this is only the start.
“It’s down to Adam and Eddie about what moves we make.
“Getting to world level you need to make these little steps, my goal is to lift a world title..”
Kelly’s fight with Avanesyan will be live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the United States.
The headline act sees Kell Brook take on Australia’s former Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Michael Zerafa.
Elsewhere, unbeaten Irish star Jono Carroll faces French former European champion Guillaume Frenois in a final eliminator to become mandatory challenger to IBF super-featherweight world champion Tevin Farmer.
Explosive Liverpool light-middleweight Anthony Fowler is in title action as he targets a showdown with newly-crowned British champion Ted Cheeseman in 2019 and IBF no.1 featherweight contender Kid Galahad stays busy with an eye on the winner of Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton.
Words: Roy Kelly Picture: Mark Robinson/ Matchroom