Friday, June 02, 2023  |


Jimmy Kilrain Kelly hands Kanat Islam first loss on Friday night

Jimmy Kilrain Kelly vs. Kanat Islam
Fighters Network

Jimmy Kilrain Kelly of England defeated middleweight contender Kanat Islam, late Friday night, at White Sands Event Center in Plant City, Florida.

One judge scored the bout 95-95, while the other two scored the bout 96-94 and 97-93 for Kelly, who improves to 26-2, 10 knockouts.

Islam was the favorite coming into the fight and had faced the better opposition between the two but Kelly was the more effective fighter throughout. Islam had not fought in over a year, since a stoppage win over Jeyson Minda, and it showed, as his timing looked off and he was flat-footed fighting in the center of the ring.

At times, Islam would switch from conventional to southpaw and back but Kelly stuck to his game-plan of working behind a jab and mixing his attack. Kelly would land one-two combinations to the head and body or would keep Islam off-balance by landing a jab or lead right and moving out of the pocket.

Sensing he was down on the scorecards late in the fight, Islam became the aggressor, throwing two or three-punch combinations, but he never had Kelly in trouble. Kelly would wisely tie Islam up as the two fought on the inside.

Friday night marked a huge win for Kelly, who knocked out journeyman Harry Matthews in Round 3 of his previous bout on December 12. The win over Matthews took place over two-and-a-half years after his previous fight in May 2019.

Islam, who is of Kazakh descent and resides in Oxnard, California, drops to 28-1, 22 KOs.

Another significant upset took place on the Probox Promotions card.

Jonathan Eniz of Argentina dropped welterweight prospect Mark Reyes Jr. once en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Scores were 95-94 twice and 96-93 for Eniz, who improves to 28-17-1, 11 KOs.

Eniz took the fight on Tuesday after original opponent Kendo Castaneda had to withdraw from the fight for undisclosed reasons. Eniz also fought earlier this month on February 3, losing by unanimous decision to unbeaten Yauheni Dauhaliavets.

The southpaw Eniz stood in the pocket with Reyes, who either smothered himself or was not close enough to Eniz to connect with combinations.

Midway through Round 2, Eniz dropped Reyes flat on his back with a right-left combination to the head. Reyes beat the count but was on wobbly legs as Eniz tried to end matters. Fortunately for Reyes, he weathered the storm and fought back, keeping Eniz at bay.

Both fighters had their moments throughout the rest of the fight. Reyes would attempt to connect to the body but Eniz utilized more ring generalship to consistently throw and land punches upstairs.

Reyes, who resides in nearby Tampa, drops to 14-2, 12 KOs. He had lost his previous fight to unbeaten Janelson Figueroa Bocachica on February 17 of last year.

In the co-feature, welterweight Peter Dobson, of the Bronx, New York, defeated Mexico’s Jose Borrego by unanimous decision.

Scores were 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93 for Dobson, who improves to 15-0, 9 KOs.

Borrego (19-4, 16 KOs) has now lost two of his last three bouts.

In preliminary action, amateur standout and cruiserweight Najee Lopez, of Ellenwood, Georgia, improved to 3-0, 3 KOs, by stopping Alex Theran (23-7, 15 KOs) at 33 seconds of Round 2. The 22-year-old Lopez dropped Theran once in the opening round and seconds into the following round before the fight was stopped.



Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.




Latest Issue Cover