Eddie Hearn tips Sunderland boxer Josh Kelly for title bout on North East soil

Josh Kelly floors Tom Whitfield in the JD NXTGEN boxing event held at Walker Activity Dome last Friday.
Josh Kelly floors Tom Whitfield in the JD NXTGEN boxing event held at Walker Activity Dome last Friday.

Josh Kelly is set to box in the North-East again before the end of the year AND for a title.

So says Eddie Hearn after witnessing the success of the Sunderland boxer on Friday night in Newcastle.

The promoter was thrilled with the 79-second demolition of Tom Whitfield in the main event of the JD NXTGEN show at the Walker Activity Dome where a large crowd was in attendance.

It was Matchroom and Sky’s first appearance in the region since April 2015 when Anthony Joshua wowed the Metro Radio Arena with the 11th win of his march to heavyweight glory.

Hearn insists they will not be leaving it for over two years before their next visit. “You’re right,” declared Hearn.

“Seeing Friday night makes me want to bring Josh back, to the Metro Radio Arena – probably by the end of October he’ll be ready for a title fight.

“The North-East really has a fighter you can hang your hat on in Josh Kelly. He is someone who can go on to challenge for world titles.

“It was great stuff, he’s a fabulous talent, he looks the part, a poster boy.

“He’s going to be a real star, not just in the North-East, but nationwide.”

On the evidence of Friday night’s display, it will not be long before Kelly is a ‘real star’ if he isn’t already.

A match with Whitfield looked a decent test on paper, but the South Shields boxer was blown away by eight left hooks to the head.

Hearn was metaphorically blown away by the 23-year-old who dazzled the audience.

“It was important to bring Josh here, we can’t just box him on the road,” said the promoter.

“He’s probably not really at the level yet where you can headline him at the Metro and places like that. But 10-11 hooks in a row, who does that?”

Hearn wants to see a North-East cruiserweight derby between Sunderland’s Warren Baister and Simon Vallily, from Middlesbrough.

Both boxers won at the JD NXTGEN event, Baister for the seventh time in a row and Vallily for the 12th occasion.

The stumbling block could be the fact they are both on good terms.

“I want to see Warren Baister v Simon Vallily,” said Hearn. “Are they friends?

“I don’t know whether they would do that fight or not, but does that matter if it makes good money?”

Hearn said Darlington’s Stuart Hall and Sedgefield’s Bradley Saunders, plus the unbeaten Jordan King, from Hetton, who all won at the Walker Activity Dome would be involved. “Stuart Hall needs to be chucked in the last-chance saloon,” said Hearn. “Jordan King? It is time for him to be slung into a fight, Bradley Saunders?

“When the show comes around he’ll be ready to be slung back in, we can build a card here and I hope that can be the end of October.”