Sunderland boxer Josh Kelly and new champion Lewis Ritson to star on Newcastle show

Josh Kelly: North-East date in early 2018
Josh Kelly: North-East date in early 2018
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Eddie Hearn plans to bring a "major show" to the North-East in early 2018 featuring Sunderland star Josh Kelly.

The leading British promoter made the announcement after Sunderland-managed Lewis Ritson signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing.

Newcastle fighter Ritson, managed by Wearside fight figure Phil Jeffries, won the British lightweight title on Saturday night.

And he looks destined for a defence at the Metro Radio Arena early next year in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

It would mean an appearance for Kelly, who has won all three of his pro bouts and boxes again in Belfast a week on Saturday.

“The North East is an important area for us to focus on with the development of Josh Kelly," said Hearn.

"I'm looking forward to bringing a major show there in the early part of 2018.

“People have been telling me about Lewis for a long time and on Saturday night we got to see why,” said Hearn. “Lewis put in a ruthless performance to win the British title with plenty of Geordie support in the Manchester Arena and I'm very excited about his future.

Ritson joined Tommy Ward as a British champ by hammering holder Robbie Barrett to a seventh-round defeat in Manchester on Saturday night.

'The Sandman’ made it 13 wins in a row, and seventh inside the distance, with the 24-year-old is excited to be getting the chance to team up with new promoter Eddie Hearn and showcase his talents on Sky Sports.

“I’m so excited to be signing with Eddie and Matchroom,” said Ritson.

“It’s happened so quickly. I got the win on Saturday, spoke to my manager then we agreed and have signed the contract straight away.

“My dad has trained me since I was eight years old through the amateurs, then when I turned pro he didn’t have his license so I went back up to Scotland for a bit and have since come back down. It was one thing we always have spoken about winning, “Imagine what it would feel like to win the British!” and now we have done it.

“I always had it in the back of my mind, I would give the belt to him, for all the years training and bond we have between us.

“My next goal is to win it outright so he can have it for keeps then.

"I think Eddie has pencilled in my first title defence for December time, squeezing one in before the end of the year. Then maybe February or March back home in Newcastle with Josh Kelly too. Eddie’s the boss now, so I’ve got to wait and see what he says and where the next fight is.

“Sky Sports is the biggest platform you can fight on, you can’t ask for much bigger.

"It’s going to spur me on a level and hopefully it can help the other North East fighters to feature and give them some coverage too.”