Luke Madeira

Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly is an unknown name to many boxing fans around the world. Well he is, considering he is fighting for the WBO Junior-Middleweight championship of the world against Liverpool’s Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith tonight.

With a record of (16-0, 7 KOs), Kelly’s career has so far gone exactly to plan. Having won the WBC Youth Silver and Gold titles as well as the WBO Inter-Continental, tonight he will be looking to land the coveted world title.

Hailing from Wythenshawe near Manchester, Jimmy’s career started right om his door step at the Castle Leisure Centre in Bury against another debutant Moss Hamed. Kelly recorded a stoppage victory, one of only five in his first thirteen fights in the pro game.

His first title shot came in the form of Georgian Nodar Robakidze (12-10-3, 4KOs) for the vacant WBC Youth Silver crown. It was only the second time I had seen Jimmy fight live, but it was a very impressive performance with a number of devastating body shots landing before the fight was stopped in the third round.

A second title shot soon followed, with powerhouse Isaac Aryee (19-7, 18KOs) the opponent in a ten round contest for the vacant WBC Youth Gold title. The fight followed a very similar pattern to his previous bout, with a right hook to the body swiftly ending the contest in the third round, with Aryee turning his back in pain from the shot.

His toughest test to date was undoubtedly in his last fight against the seasoned Martin Fidel Rios (16-6-3, 8KOs) to win the WBO Inter-Continental crown. The scorecards of 99-89, 100-87, 98-89 do not tell the whole story, with the Argentinian proving to be a very stiff test despite touching the canvas on a couple of occasions. Jimmy’s hooks hurt Rios, but his resilience was to be admired throughout the fight.

The collective seem to be writing Jimmy Kelly off for his fight tonight, but I’m not too sure. He has clearly got in the head of Liam Smith and agitated him throughout the build up to the contest.

I don’t believe we have seen the best Jimmy Kelly by any stretch of the imagination, and tonight is the perfect platform for him to showcase his skills.

There is no doubt Liam Smith is a huge betting favourite going into the fight, but we have seen bigger upsets than this in boxing…

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