Bronze medal has been worth the weight for Sunderland fighter Josh Kelly

Josh Kelly with his European Games bronze medal
Josh Kelly with his European Games bronze medal
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Success has been worth the weight for one of Great Britain’s European Games heroes, Josh Kelly.

The 21-year-old Sunderland boxer was one of five medal winners for Team GB in the boxing ring in Baku.

Kelly clinched bronze in the U69 kilo welterweight division and was unlucky not to have been contesting gold after losing out in the semis to Azerbaijan hero Parviz Baghirov .

But the exciting Houghton ABC star achieved his ambition of finishing on the podium AND winning a place at the World Championships in Doha in October.

His medal not only came in his first major international senior tournament but in the first since his move up from light-welterweight to welter.

A difference in five kilos does not sound a lot but Kelly says it has helped make him stronger and better.

“The move up has done me a world of good,” he told the Echo. “I can do it easy and I’m firing on all cylinders.

“I’ve carried my speed up to this division as well, so it’s gone perfectly.

“I’ve settled in nicely at this weight and the tournament went brilliantly for me.

“To get my place at the World Championships was fantastic. It will be tough but I will carry the confidence from this tournament into the worlds.”

His medal joy was also made all the sweeter by the fact he needed to recover from injury in the build-up to the event in Azerbaijan.

“I had to come back from a stress fracture in my leg, but winning the bronze showed how hard I worked for this tournament,” he added.