Kris George (14-1, 8KO’s) will be challenging Josh Kelly (6-0, 4KO’s) for Kelly’s World Boxing Association (WBA) International Welterweight Title this Saturday, June 16th, at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
George hails from Toowoomba, Australia, and has the biggest fight of his career on the horizon as he will be facing the blue-chipper Josh Kelly, whom his well known trainer Adam Booth calls the most talent fighter he has ever worked with. Add in promotional giant Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Sport and it would seem that the general feeling is that George is just supposed to be another victim.
George, of course, has other plans “Josh has fought mostly guys expecting to lose. That is not my mentality, I have been here before, I have been the heavy underdog many times and fought guys that 100% thought they were going to win like Josh does.”
George has indeed been in this scenario before and can relate to Kelly in many ways. George feels that just like Kelly he was perhaps rushed after his big victory over Ozan Craddock in 2014. He won the Queensland State Welterweight Title in that fight and then the WBA Oceania 140lb Title in his very next fight that same year.
Sporting a 7-0 record with 5 knockouts while holding the WBA Oceania Title put him on top of the world but then he would learn the hardest lesson of his career when he faced the tough and experienced Can Xu and lost a close decision – his only loss to date.
“My first loss tells the story of why I will beat Josh Kelly. Coming off my big victory over Craddock put me in a position I was not quite ready for. This win gave me the opportunity to fight for the WBA Oceania title which was a dream come true. In my first defense after winning the title my lack of experience showed as I struggled to make 63.5kg and I didn’t re-hydrate properly. I was weak but thinking I was untouchable I came up against a resilient Chinese fighter who absorbed my big blows early and hung in while I lost myself in the fight with no energy. It was a terrible feeling but now I look back and know I wouldn’t be where I am with out that harsh learning curve.”
Since the loss George has went 7-0, reeling off some excellent victories including his best to date with a win over Cameron Hammond in which George went the full twelve round distance for the first time in his career, knocking down Hammond in the sixth round while winning the unanimous decision.
George pulls no punches in saying that he will be victorious over the highly touted Kelly, saying “I expect Kelly to be favorite. I’m an unknown even in my own country, I’m not one of the golden boys but that is my drive because I want to show people that anyone can become champion and anyone can overcome the odds. I have done it many times before and I will do it again. Josh Kelly thinks he has already won, he believes his own hype and thinks he is untouchable but I know otherwise.”
Kris is very excited to be fighting for a WBA title once again, commenting “The first title I ever won was a WBA belt and I’ve never had a prouder moment. Now to be fighting for the WBA International Title and a world ranking with the WBA is a dream come true. My end goal is the world title.”