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David Avanesyan takes out Josh Kelley in sixth round

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David Avanesyan took another step toward a welterweight title shot. Josh Kelley will have to rebuild.

Avanesyan recovered from a slow start to put Kelley down and stop the 2016 Olympian in the sixth round Saturday night at SSE Arena in London.

The fight was set and canceled multiple times over the past few years before it finally took place. For Avanesyan, it was worth the wait.

Kelley (10-1-1, 6 KOs) got off to a strong start, outboxing his more-experienced opponent in the first few rounds even though he suffered a cut on the back of his head.

However, after Kelley was cut above his right eye from an accidental headbutt in the fourth round, Avanesyan picked up steam and began to impose his will on Kelley.

In Round 6, Avanesyan (27-3-1, 15 KOs) landed a barrage of hard shots that forced Kelley to touch the canvas for a knockdown. He was able to continue but the end was near. Avanesyan punctuated another flurry with a hard left, which hurt Kelley again.

At that point, with Kelley in extreme danger, his trainer, Adam Booth, threw in the towel to end the fight. The official time was 2:15 of the round.

Avanesyan, ranked No. 6 by the IBF, bolstered his credentials as a legitimate contender by winning his fourth consecutive fight — all by knockout — since he was stopped by Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018.

Kelley is now 1-1-1 in his last three fights, having drawn with Ray Robinson in June 2019 and outpointing Wiston Campos six months later.

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