Brilliant Kelly lands ABA title + SLIDESHOW

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JOSH Kelly has vowed to go on to bigger and better things after a brilliant display to become senior ABA champion on Saturday.

The 19-year-old from Sunderland, who boxes for Houghton ABC, was outstanding in defeating Londoner Chris Mbwakongo in the 63.5kg category on home soil at Rainton Meadows Arena.

Josh Kelly (Red) V (Chris Mbwakongo)

Josh Kelly (Red) V (Chris Mbwakongo)

Kelly was flawless throughout and rocked his opponent on numerous occasions – landing to both body and head of his Lynn ABC opponent.

Kelly said: “I can’t believe it. This is the biggest honour for an amateur boxer.

“I am over the moon. Hopefully this is the first step on the road to more success.

“I know I have a long way to go – I’ve only just turned 19 and I can learn a lot.”

Kelly, mature as a boxer and a man way beyond his years, entered the ring in confident fashion – and his superior class was evident from the start.

And he left the ring to rapturous applause from his family and friends after the judges unanimously scored the contest in favour of the far superior boxer.

Kelly added: “I have just secured my place on the Great Britain squad and I hope to stick around there for a long time.

“I got a bronze medal in the World Championships in Armenia and that has made me want more.

“I want to get into the Commonwealth Games and hopefully go further.

“I am young, but I know I can do it.

“There is a lot more to come and I know I can make a name for myself, but I have to keep my feet on the ground.”

Kelly’s measured approach was a joy to see as he outmanouvered Mbwakongo with superb movement and footwork, leaving his opponent often chasing shadows, while being caught regularly with counter-punches.

In his first year in the senior event, Kelly was the outstanding performer on the night and has quickly established himself as a potential start of the future.

But Kelly insisted he would not get carried away with the performance.

He added: “Everyone has been brilliant with me and kept me going. I do all the hard work in the gym – hard sparring, hard runs and so on and it has paid off.

“The final went so much to plan I could not believe it. The last year has been amazing and in a way it feels surreal that I have won it.

“But I’ll get back in the gym quickly. I have an international in Sweden coming up, so I’ll prepare to my best in that.”

South Durham’s Declan Fusco was edged out 3-2 on the judges’ scorecards in the 91kg category to Portsmouth’s Greg Bridet.

Results: 48kg Waleed Din (Sheffield Lane Top) WDISQ2 Lugman Patel (Earlsfield), 51kg Jack Bateson (Burmantofts) WPTSUN Joel Spragg (Brighton City), 54kg Marc Leach (Ardwick Lads) LRSC1 Lucien Reid (West Ham), 57kg Jack Daniel (Kellys) LPTSUN Reece Bellotti (South Oxhey), 60kg Ryan Fillingham (Army) LPTSUN Isaac Dogboe (Territorial Army), 63.5kg Josh Kelly (Houghton & District) WPTSUN Chris Mbwakongo (Lynn), 67kg Jeff Saunders (Army) WPTSUN Sam McNess (Repton), 71kg Scott Fitzgerald (Larches & Savick) WPTSUN Luke Saunders (West Ham), 75kg Adam Farrell (Salisbury) WPTSUN Felix Cash (Guildford), 81kg Ashley Vanzie (KBW Dewsbury) LPTSM 3-2 Ricky Crotty (Hoddesdon), 86kg Jack Massey (Northside) WPTSUN Christopher Billam-Smith (Poole), 91kg Declan Fusco (South Durham) LPTSM 3-2 Greg Bridet (Heart of Portsmouth), 91kg+ Anthony Richardson (Army) WPTSM 3-2 Nicholas Webb (Woking).