SUNDERLAND fighter Josh Kelly lost in the semi-finals of the Youth World Championships in Armenia this morning.
But the Houghton ABC boxer, competing in the 64kg category in Yerevan, exits the competition with a bronze medal around his neck.
Kelly lost out to Cuba’s Kevin Brown today, losing 16-10 – although the contest was much closer than the scoreline suggests.
The fighters went into the final round with Brown just one point ahead and when the final bell rang, the contest seemed to be very much in the balance.
However, the judges somehow scored the round 8-3 in Brown’s favour despite his attempts tojust stay out of Kelly’s reach.
Kelly, from High Barnes, edged a cagey first round 3-2.
Both fighters took time to weigh each other up, with both stumbling to the canvas at one point. Kelly did the cleaner work though and deserved to edge the round.
Brown started the second in more aggressive style, though Kelly used good footwork to stay out of trouble. A good left from Kelly caught Brown, who was off balance and again had to touch down.
The Cuban did have some success with counter-punches, though, and took the round 6-4 to edge one point clear with the final round to come.
Kelly was quickly onto the front foot with an aggressive start, with good work to the body.
Brown, though, seemed more intent on avoiding any punches that might score against him and was told by the referee to throw more himself.
It probably did him a favour, as he immediately caught Kelly with a good upper cut.
Even so, Kelly continued to press forward and though he dominated, he was unable to land many clear scoring shots.
The 8-3 round score was harsh in the extreme, though, for Kelly.
The 18-year-old won three fights to seal his bronze medal success.
Kelly beat Shamurat Cherkezov of Turkmenistan 12-9, then overcame the Polish No.1 Kazimierz Legowski, who was disqualified after being outpointed 15-9 in the first two rounds.
The Wearsider clinched his place in the semis by outpointing Mexico’s Carlos Sanchez Valadez 13-8.