SUNDERLAND boxer Josh Kelly has flown out to Armenia to represent England in the Under 19 World Championships, writes Graeme Anderson.
The 18-year-old Houghton ABC fighter flew out from Heathrow yesterday and arrived in the Eurasian country via Russia.
The opening ceremonies of the fortnight long competition were due to take place over the weekend with weigh-ins on Monday and Josh facing up to half-a-dozen fights in the 64kg class.
Ex-St Aidans school pupil Josh, who lives in High Barnes with dad Paul and mam Deborah, has boxed for England at junior, schooboy and youth level but this is the first time he has been selected to compete in the world championships.
Long-term he hopes to be in contention for selection for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and this month’s tournament could be one of the first steps on the road to South America.
He got his shot at the chance of taking part in the championships after excelling in the Tri-Nations tournament and then being invited to a series of training camps at Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield.
Josh’s dad Paul told the Echo: “He has been looking forward to it for weeks now and was excited about finally going.
“Everything has gone well for him in training and his coaches are very happy with him so it’s now just a case of going out there and doing his best.”
H Sunderland ABC fighters have been in action with 15-year-olds Travis Water and Ben Weighill fighting boxers from Hartlepool Catholic Club
Southpaw Travis overcame Jamie Lee (Hartlepool CC) with fast hands and swift combinations winning a unanimous decision.
Fellow southpaw Weighill overcame John Smith (Hartlepool CC) forcing a first-round stoppage to make it four wins out of his first four fights.
Meanwhile, the club’s Joel Hassan and Carlo Geraldi have returned from a weekend boxing in Dublin as part of the Tyne Tees and Wear team taking on the Irish City’s best young boxers.
Hassan gave weight away to stocky opponent Francis Stokes in the bout, held at the new Parnel Sports Arena, but won a convincing unanimous decision largely through good use of his jab.
Geraldi fared less well in his fight against Luke Carroll in what proved to be a tactical encounter.
The Sunderland boxer used counter-attacking tactics through as Carroll got stronger with each round but it was the Irish fighter who took a unanimous decision.
Overall though it was a victory for the North East with Tyne Tees and Wear winning the competition 8-5 which was a reversal of the previous encounter held at the Gateshead College Academy in September.