Sunderland boxer Josh Kelly’s eye on return to ring in Belfast

Sunderlands Josh Kelly  will box live on Sky Sports in Belfast on Saturday, October 21.
Sunderlands Josh Kelly will box live on Sky Sports in Belfast on Saturday, October 21.

Josh Kelly’s return to the ring has been delayed – but he’s “buzzing” about his new date.

The Sunderland sensation had been due to box in Manchester this weekend on the undercard of the lightweight Battle of Britain between Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns.

But a burst eardrum, from a non-boxing-related incident took him out of the gym and out off the big Sky Sports-screened show.

Kelly will instead be in action for the fourth time as a pro in Belfast on Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom show on Saturday October 21.

The unbeaten light-welterweight will be one of the chief support acts when Ryan Burnett and Zhanat Zhakiyanov clash in an IBF and WBA world bantamweight unification clash.

“I’m buzzing to be on at the SSE Arena, “ said the 23-year-old. “It seems I’ve got quite a big Irish support and I can’t wait to box in front of them.”

With a name like Kelly, the former Olympian should not be struggle for cheers in Belfast. He is looking forward to hearing them loud and clear following being flattened by a burst eardrum.

“I was looking forward to Manchester, but I missed a week in the gym, so that ruled that out,” he said. “I spent a week in bed on antibiotics, I couldn’t even get out for a run, never mind go training, my body just wasn’t up to it.

“But the antibiotics have worked and I feel good now.

“I’m flying in the gym and sparring 10 rounds no problem.

“I’ve got a fortnight’s hard training and then we’ll ease down the last week. I just can’t wait to box again and put on a show.”

Kelly certainly put on a show last time out, needing a mere 80 seconds to knock out Tom Whitfield in Newcastle in July.

That was set as his first eight-rounder though his clinical display made for an early night.

“It was good that night to transfer onto the big stage what I’d been doing in the gym,” he said. “I’m not sure how many rounds I’m doing in Belfast.

“It could be eight like last time. They are trying to step me up little by little before a big step up before the back end of the year.

“I’m gearing up for something exciting but I must put on a show at Belfast first.”