HOUGHTON ABC’S Josh Kelly took another step closer to a national boxing final when he comprehensively out-pointed highly-rated Liverpudlian Ryan Mulkay at the Rainton Meadows Arena.
The 19-year-old, from Barnes in Sunderland, will now go through to the national quarter-finals of the Senior ABA Championships, held in Scunthorpe this Sunday where he will face Leicestershire’s Sam Bowen.
Kelly was expected to have a tougher fight against Mulkay than was actually the case on the night.
Mulkay, of Everton Red Triangle, has a good pedigree – the 22-year-old having fought for England in home internationals.
But Kelly tore him into him from the start and coud have taken the Merseysider out midway through the first round of their 63.5kg contest.
Kelly caught Mulkay with a tremendous left hook which turned the visitor’s legs to jelly and the referee instantly stepped in to deliver a mandatory eight count.
It was to Mulkay’s credit that he was able to continue to the end of the round and see out the remainder of the contest after being so disorientated.
But he had little to give in rounds two and three and Kelly took complete control, ending the bout as the unanimous winner on the scorecards of all five judges.
Kelly now takes on another fighter with international experience when he faces Bowen, of Earl ABC for a place in the national semi-finals.
Josh’s dad, Paul, who works as a coach at Houghton ABC said: “Bowen is a quality boxer and Josh will have his work cut out for him but at this level of the competition you’re not going to get any mugs.
“They are all top class boxers and it is up to Josh just to go out there and do his best.
“It all seems to be coming together for him at the moment and I was really proud of the way he handled himself against Mulkay because that was one fit lad and it said a lot that he was able to box all three rounds after soaking up the punch he did from Josh in the first round.
“This is Josh’s first time in the Senior ABA’s so it’s unknown territory for him.
“But so far he’s acquitted himself really well,”