Josh Kelly keen on taking on hard-hitting American welterweight Brandon Rios
'Pretty Boy' keen to fill void left by Eggington's surprise defeat and take on bullish American 'Bam Bam'
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 14/09/18 5:09pm
Josh Kelly has welcomed a welterweight showdown with Brandon Rios as he makes plans for a November ring return.
Kelly (7-0-KO5) has exploded onto the scene since turning pro and, having beaten Carlos Molina for an International belt previously before retiring Kris George for the Commonwealth strap, the former amateur standout wants to again step up the levels.
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Bullish American Rios is one candidate for Kelly's next outing, in November. The former world champion, out of Texas, had been lined up to meet Sam Eggington on the Joshua-Povetkin Wembley bill, but that fell apart when 'The Savage' suffered a shock defeat in Birmingham last week.
'Pretty Boy' has now suggested a second cross-Atlantic battle with Rios.
"I feel ready for anyone," Kelly exclusively told Sky Sports. "I've had a bit of time off and have been ticking over but now I'm ready to jump back in.
"I've heard that I'm next out in November. I leave it all to my team though and keep my head down until I get news of a date and opponent. I'm not one to mouth off fighters.
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"If Adam [Booth] thinks Rios is the right fight next then we do it, I'd be happy with it. I'm not scared of anyone and this is boxing at the end of the day, I'm in the sport to be the best. Rios can come and get it.
"I'm the Commonwealth champion after seven fights and beat Molina for the WBA International title before that, I never thought it would all happen so quickly but we are reaching new expectations."
Despite a blistering start to life in the paid ranks, some of Kelly's recent victories have failed to quite reach the excitement levels that had come before, the welterweight protege admitting that he often hits cruise control and switches off.
"We've been saying after fights that I do lose concentration here and there and I know it can be a bit frustrating for the people watching," he said.
"I don't like to be disrespectful but I can get a bit bored in a fight, I solve the puzzle quickly and then it's cruise control from there.
"I want to get to a point where I can't afford to switch off, that's when the best version of me comes out and it'll happen once I step up.
"Rios is a fighter that'll force it out of me, he's been there, done it and will keep me switched on. I know he'll make me go through the levels and gears. It's what I want and need."
With promoter Eddie Hearn's groundbreaking new promotional deal stateside, the 24-year-old could be in line for an outing across the Atlantic.
"I do love boxing in England with the crowd and all your friends and family there but heading to America would be a dream come true," he said.
"It just feels different in the USA, I remember when I was younger watching Mike Tyson fights, it's a country steeped in boxing history. My dad, who only fought at amateur, always said that his dream place to box was the Royal Albert Hall in London and that never happened for him.
"I've set my heights a little higher and if I could box at Madison Square Garden or at one of my home stadiums then that would be massive. If I was pushed then Madison Square Garden is the one I want ticked off."
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