Josh Kelly believes big-time boxing will be back to stay in the northeast if he can rip the Commonwealth Welterweight title from Kris George at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday, June 16, live on Sky Sports.
Kelly is gunning for his second pro title having landed the WBA International strap at Principality Stadium in Cardiff in March against former World ruler Carlos Molina in just his sixth outing in the paid ranks.
‘Pretty Boy’ puts that title on the line against George, the Australian defending the Commonwealth for the second time having seen off Jack Brubaker in October after landing the crown in November 2016 against Cameron Hammond.
The 28-year-old visitor will look to derail Kelly’s progress, but with a card stacked full of local talent led by co-headliner and British Lightweight king Lewis Ritson, the Sunderland ace plans to add more silverware in style to keep the Sky Sports cameras coming back to the northeast.
“It’s a massive night for boxing in the northeast and it’s a big step up to fight for the Commonwealth title in my seventh fight,” said Kelly. “It’s another puzzle for me to solve, I like to look at fights like they are problems to work out and I feel that I’ll do it in good fashion.
“Lewis has got a massive fanbase and I am really building a good following too so it should be a brilliant night.
“I’ve seen videos and clips of Kris in action, I like to study them. He’s quite raw and as an Australian, he’s going to be tough and a proud champion, he’s a worthy title holder but I feel that I’ll show I’m a level above.
“I have to keep winning so that we can keep coming back and putting on big nights like this. The northeast hasn’t had anything this big for a long time and to look at the quality of young talent on the bill it shows that there’s a bright future up here – as long as we all perform. That’s what I intend to do on June 16 and I’m sure the other boys will as we want to put it on the map.
“When boxing is involved, what football team you support goes out of the window. There will be Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle fans there on the night and they’ll all come together to support the lads.
“When you are this end of the country you are fighting from day one to get noticed, so to box on a card like this on Sky Sports it’s massive, and we need the fans from all over to get behind us so we keep coming back. I’m moving fast and I cannot wait to see where I will be in a year’s time.”
Kelly’s clash with George is part of a huge night of action in Newcastle as Ritson aims to land the Lord Lonsdale belt outright against Paul Hyland Jr.
Gavin McDonnell defends his WBC International Super-Bantamweight title against Stuart Hall in a must-win clash for both men, Charlie Edwards and Anthony Nelson meet for the vacant WBA Continental Super-Flyweight title and Arfan Iqbal defends his English Cruiserweight belt against Simon Vallily.
Tickets priced £40, £60, £80 and £100 are on sale now from the Metro Arena at http://www.metroradioarena.co.uk, on 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office. Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply. VIP tickets are on sale priced at £200 from http://www.matchroomboxing.com/tickets
Face value tickets for June 16 are available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.