Sunderland Olympian Josh Kelly beats Jay Byrne on pro debut

Winner: Josh Kelly. Picture Steve Welsh/ Matchroom
Winner: Josh Kelly. Picture Steve Welsh/ Matchroom
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Josh Kelly enjoyed a triumphant professional debut in Glasgow with an entertaining points win over Jay Byrne.

The Sunderland boxing talent was up against a tough Irishman with a winning record at the SSE Hydro Arena but he emerged with a 59-55 victory.

Kelly left the amateurs behind following a glittering career to sign for Eddie Hearn's Matchroom and the promoter gave him a magnificent stage to make his bow, on the undercard of Scottish fight hero Ricky Burns' world light-welterweight unification match with Julius Indongo.

Boxing for the first time since going out of the 2016 Olympics at the last 16 stage, Kelly was sharply out of the blocks with three leftts straight away and a combination to the Dubliner's body.

To Byrne's credit, he never moved from in front of the 23-year-old in the early stages and even gave Josh a shake of the head in the second as if to say "that didn't hurt" with the Olympian responding with three lefts to his rival's head.

Byrne was not deterred. Far from it, in the third round he ploughed forward, landing a number of scoring shots to clinch the session.

Kelly was soon back into his rhythm in round four, flicking out his left and forcing Byrne to retreat.

The Ryhope mover was on form in the fifth, letting his left go, including a crunching body shot which hurt jay, but the 30-year-old stayed on his feet.

After a furious fifth session, the last three minutes were less frantic, but Kelly used his jab superbly to finish the fight as the dominant figure.

Kelly followed former Team GB team-mate Lawrence Okolie into the ring, the Londoner hammering Poland's Lukas Rusiewicz in two minutes, 36 seconds of the first round.