Josh Kelly has revealed how messages of support from around the world have lifted him following the first defeat of his pro career. 

The Sunderland native, 26, was floored twice by European welterweight champion David Avanesyan on Saturday night before trainer Adam Booth threw in the towel in the sixth round.

And Kelly (pictured above – courtesy of Matchroom Boxing) took to Instagram this morning to thank his fans and the boxing world for rallying around him.

He said: “The support I’ve received, not just before this fight but after, has blown me away really. Some of the messages and phone calls have been so deep.

“When setbacks happen in your life it shows who’s really there for you and on your side through thick or thin.

“This has shown me how many people care for me as a person and not just a boxer.

“The support from around the country and the world has been another level but the support from Sunderland has been above and beyond.

“I’m truly proud to come from such a strong city that shows its hard character again and again.”

Beaten by the better man

Domestic rival Conor Benn suggested on the night that Kelly would have to do some soul-searching before returning to the ring — and that a step up in weight may benefit him.

But for now, the Black Cats fan is simply looking forward to getting some rest after being left bloodied and bruised by Avanesyan, 32, at Wembley Arena.

Kellt added: “I gave it my all in there on Saturday. It’s another experience I take on this journey in life.

“I was beaten by a better man on the night and that’s that.”

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