Kalle Sauerland: We love the Tim Tszyu fight for Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly cruised to victory against Gabriel Alberto Corzo in Newcastle last night in the widest of unanimous decision victories. 

Kelly (14-1-1, 7 KOs) cemented his WBO number 2 rankings for Jermell Charlo’s 154 pound world title against the 9th placed Corzo, who offered little competition for the entirety of the bout. 

With Carlo’s undisputed title on the verge of being scattered across the division, Interim champion Tim Tszyu’s name came up quickly in an exclusive interview with promoter Kalle Sauerland.

“When I look at the world title situation, the name out there that everyone seems to like is Tim Tszyu, and so do I.” Sauerland said to ProBox TV. “We fight for the vacant [WBO] title, or we might suddenly find ourselves in an IBF situation. We will go up all the rankings. At the end of the day we would love a Tim Tszyu fight. It is a big name, but at the same time the IBF situation could become interesting for us as well. It has also got to fit into the Autumn for us, we aren’t ready to go next month unfortunately.

Kelly’s performance was punch perfect against an always surviving Corzo that offered zero competition to the far superior Englishman.

“There were a lot different Josh Kelly’s in there tonight.” Sauerland evaluated. “You saw one on the front foot, one on the back foot, one in the center of the ring. All different sorts because we had an opponent in there tonight who was very awkward, tough and at times dirty. At times fucking extremely dirty! We had a bit of everything. Last year was a chapter, a chapter clearing out the cobwebs, a chapter of shoving things down people’s throats. It was for him to close off that domestic chapter. I think tonight is the start of a little bit of a different journey. 

“I think the opponent did their homework from the Troy [Williamson] fight and realised it is not a good idea to just come at him because he will just sit back on those ropes and poach you. So he sat back and didn’t throw a punch until Josh threw a punch. It took him a couple of rounds to work out a way to get him out of that corner and actually lure him into throwing a punch, when he actually threw the punch, he was very successful on the counter. He was very sharp, he always has been. It’s just about that state he gets into when he gets in a ring now, he is just enjoying it.”

Kelly said in the post fight interview with DAZN that he wanted a fight with British banned Conor Benn. Kelly’s promoter clearly had eyes on the domestic scene that has proved so valuable in the past despite the potential of a world title shot next. 

“It is funny that you say that, neither of them have fought in a pay-per-view fight before.” Sauerland explained. “Pay-per-view star? I call it that because they have the ability to do that. I think if you look at [Anthony] Joshua’s last fight, it wasn’t pay-per-view was it? I think what we have come to understand is that it is different too, I don’t know, Canelo. If you look at the States and Latin America, he can box anybody he wants and we will pay for it. Whereas now, people here, they expect top fights. I remember doing Kessler-Froch 2, and at the time he was a decent name. I remember we put it on sale, we were wondering - is this really going to sell out the O2? Then boom! They were all gone before the press conference started and it did very well on pay-per-view because the fight was the right one. People forget that. 

“You can throw out names. Kelly-Benn, Kelly-Eubank, Kelly-Brook. These are all fights that people will get into and soak up. The promo around it is of course important, but it is when you have those two domestic names, in the UK especially at the top level. It always comes up with something special. That goes back to when I started watching boxing in the 90’s.”