Josh Kelly aims to put North East back on boxing map with Commonwealth title victory

Josh Kelly at today's press conference.
Josh Kelly at today's press conference.
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Sunderland welterweight Josh Kelly wants to put the North East back on the boxing map, with a little help from Newcastle's Lewis Ritson.

Rio Olympian Kelly tops the Matchroom Sports' card at the Metro Radio Arena on June 16 alongside Forest Hall's British lightweight champion Ritson.

And having been handed the chance win the Commonwealth title on 'home' turf, 'Pretty Boy' believes footballing rivalries will be put aside this summer, with boxing domination the goal.

"It’s great to be fighting on a massive bill in the north east when you are from here, you are fighting from day one, you don't get the big opportunities that there are elsewhere so it's great to bring the boxing back," said WBA International titlist Kelly ahead of his clash with Australian belt holder Kris George.

"Lewis and I are doing great things and I know the other north east boys on the bill are going to entertain so I can't wait for a big night and the first of many here.

"Boxing brings the north east together, I can't see the crowd being split, the fans are going to get behind us all and big-time boxing hasn't been up here for a while and I feel now it's the time to bring it back and the Metro Radio Arena is going to go off on June 16."

The full card for June 16 at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.

The full card for June 16 at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.

Elsewhere on the bill Ritson aims to win the British title belt outright with victory over Paul Hyland Jnr, while South Shields fighter Anthony Nelson takes on Charlie Edwards, Darlington's former World titlist Stu Hall fights Gavin McDonnell and fellow Sunderland man Glenn Foot could yet be added to the bill.

Promoter Eddie Hearn, who was in attendance at this afternoon's press conference at Newcastle Civic Centre said he could not wait to see big time boxing return to the region.

Hearn said: "It's fantastic to be back in the north east and this is a brilliant card from top to bottom with five excellent title fights.

"We're back here in a big way and I'm really excited about this bill. Every time you come to a place like Newcastle you feel like the city really wants you to be here and you want big shows with the Sky Sports cameras - it feels like a Belfast or a Liverpool, it feels that the city is ready for a great night of boxing and that's what we've delivered."

Kelly beat Carlos Molina on the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker undercard at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

Kelly beat Carlos Molina on the Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker undercard at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

*Tickets will go on sale 12.00pm Wednesday 25th April and are available online, from the booking hotline number 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office. Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply.