Newark's David Avanesyan defeats Kerman Lejarraga with stunning first round TKO in Bilbao - trainer Carl Greaves gives his verdict
David Avanesyan has elevated himself to world level, says trainer Carl Greaves.
The Russian-born fighter put on a masterclass in Bilbao, Spain, as he successfully defended the European welterweight title with a first round technical knockout victory over Kerman Lejarraga.
The 31-year-old, who trained in Newark, needed less than three minutes as he rocked the Spaniard with a left hook, which forced the referee to stop the contest.
“We had the time of our lives,” said Greaves, who led Avanesyan’s camp.
“It has been one of the biggest weeks for both of us and we couldn’t have dreamt of a better outcome.”
Avanesyan upset the odds when he stole the title from Lejarraga in March, and the 10,000-strong Spanish crowd made their feelings known as the Newark fighter made his return to the Bilbao Arena.
“They were doing everything they could to get into David’s head, but he is so calm, nothing phases him,” said Greaves.
“He has so much experience and has fought all over the world.”
But despite visiting arenas in Monte Carlo, Arizona, Cincinnati and Nevada with Avanesyan, Greaves said he found the experience in Spain daunting as he followed Avanesyan to the ring.
“You have to remember Kerman is a superstar over there, and speaking to the Spanish Federation, I realised how big he is,” said Greaves.
“When he fights, people come from all over northern Spain. He brings people into the city.”
Greaves, who spoke openly, revealed he had his doubts when landing in Bilbao, but it was a temporary thought that he soon removed from his mind.
“His team were saying all of the right things when I got there,” he said.
“They pointed out what Kerman did wrong in the last camp and I had a few doubts in my head.
“The said they took David for granted, but then when it got to the weigh-in, all my doubts went away.
“David was fresh and strong, and Kerman looked the opposite.
“He was uncomfortable, I could tell as soon as I saw him.”
The fight got off to a ferocious start, with Avanesyan dominating the opening stages and, after a flurry of combinations, a left hook to the temple put the Spaniard on the canvas.
Having survived a standing count, Avanesyan advanced, and within 45 seconds Lejarraga was down again, this time by a shot to the chin.
“The writing was on the wall for him,” said Greaves. “David had that killer instinct.
"I told David to target his temple because I knew he was struggling with weight, and being an ex-fighter myself and knowing from my own experiences, it would be temple shot that puts you down."
Greaves said the title defence also added to an incredible journey for the duo, who have the likes of Shane Mosley, Lamont Peterson and Egidijus Kavaliauskas on their boxing CV's.
“What a journey it has been for us," he said. "We are a two man team. There are no strength and conditioning coaches, no dietitians. I am on my own in all of those departments, it's all me.
“Without blowing my own trumpet, there is nobody at this level doing what I’m doing."
Josh Kelly is now a mandatory challenger for Avanesyan’s belt, and the two have tension between them after the former pulled out of a fight earlier this year.
Greaves said Avanesyan’s next bout isn’t set in stone, however, he confirmed whatever his next fight, it will elevate his career.
“Something big looms for David,” said Greaves.
More by this authorConnor Thompson