JOSH Kelly has taken a major step towards ABA Championship glory.
The gifted Wearsider reached the last four of the prestigious tournament with one of his finest domestic results on Sunday.
Kelly, recently turned 19, outpointed Midlands champion Sam Bowen at Scunthorpe in an U63.5 kilo quarter-final cracker in Scunthorpe.
Bowen threw everything except the kitchen sink at the young England boxer, who showed his extra quality to win on all five judges’ scorecards – 21-12, 19-13, 17-14, 27-12 and 20-19.
“I’m buzzing,” the stylish Houghton ABC star told the Echo. “That was a massive scalp for me.
“People who had looked at this fight have been saying that it was going to be between me and him to win it (the title).
“He’s five years older than me, he’s strong, and had not gone the full three rounds in his three bouts so far.
“I think he knew I am a boxer and he tried to knock me out of my rhythm. But I was determined to keep my head and not to mix it.
“I followed instructions and that was to stick to my clean and clever boxing.”
Kelly, from Barnes in Sunderland, has every right to be “buzzing” after have the guile and nerve to beat the fighter from Earl Shilton ABC.
It would perhaps be a little over simplistic to describe this as aggressor v artist or brawler v boxer but there were two distict styles in the Redbourn Club ring.
Bowen had “Bullet” written on his shorts but “bludgeon” may have been a better word.
The Leicestershire lad was left-hand-happy in the first round, targeting the body and the head but Kelly moved brilliantly, making his opponent miss several times.
Kelly landed several superb lefts plus a left-right combination when Bowen lunged in.
Bowen did land one left on the head of the teenager but it was so long after the bell that his cornerman was getting into the ring.
It seemed Bowen had escaped censure but it was not the case as the referee and deducted points at the start of the middle session.
Another warning soon followed for mis-use of the head and Kelly looked well on his way to victory.
He was given a standing eight count when his right glove touched the canvas though he appeared to have been pushed down rather than punched.
He retained his composure with straight left and right shots to maintain his lead.
Bowen was forward, again, in the last and did land a couple of strong lefts to the body but Kelly connected with a few lefts of his own and ended a worthy winner.
Next up are the semi-finals at Everton Park Sports Centre on Sunday, April 7, and after this win, nothing should hold any fears for the Sunderland ace.