Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports have promised as returned to the region before the end of this year after a hugely successful show at the Walker Dome on Friday night.
Headlined by Sunderland Olympian, Josh ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly against Birtley’s Tom ‘TNT’ Whitfield, fight fans were far from disappointed by that, or the strong undercard, contests which left the Matchroom supremo dreaming of success to come in the area.
The likes of Stuart Hall, Warren Baister, Simon Vallily and Bradley Saunders, alongside Josh Kelly, all did the region proud when collecting wins, some more emphatically than others.
Kelly put Whitfield to the sword in the headline contest which last less than two minutes after the Rio Olympian pinned the former Northern Area title challenger to the ropes, in their corner, and unleashed seven lefts in quick succession for which there was not only no answer, but left a dazed and confused Whitfield on the canvas unsure what to do next.
Afterwards Kelly said: “I was ready for eight rounds as you can never plan for what happens in a contest.
“Short of stopping an opponent you don’t know how long a contest will last however, once the jabs started landing I knew I had the contest won it was just down to the timing of the shots and knowing in my head that I’d catch him sooner rather than later.”
The world is certainly the oyster for Kelly, but for Whitfield its back to the drawing board with the next move needing to be plotted wisely by coach Mal Gates; there was no disgrace in the loss or it’s manner either, Kelly being destined to be a future world champion, and who knows Whitfield could do a rematch in the future?
The Birtley fighter added: “I got KO’d off a future world champion.
“I trained hard for this, putting miles on the road and rounds in the gym but boxing is all about levels and we knew we were stepping up a massive level to take on Josh.
“I’ve never ducked a fight though and never ducked this one. I had no hesitation when we were offered it as it was a massive opportunity to box on a live Sky show and to share the ring with a future world champion.
“This time last year I was recovering from a broken jaw and now I’ve just topped a Sky Sports show, it’s what dreams are made of.”
The remainder of the main Sky Sports bill saw Hetton’s Jordan King collect a routine win Adam Jones, Liverpool’s Anthony Fowler claim an impressive stoppage success at the start of the fourth against Nikolavs Gvajava and ‘Miss GB,’ Natasha Jonas turn up the heat with a stunning debut performance with a first round stoppage of Monika Antonik.
On the undercard, Bradley Saunders made an emphatic return after some 21 months out with injury and showed little sign or ring rust, or after effects to double hand surgery, he claimed first round, 163 second stoppage win after opponent Casey Blair’s corner threw in the towel whilst former world champion, Stuart Hall, eased to a comfortable six round win over the tricky Jose Aguilar.
The four Fighting Chance opening the bill impressed to warrant further exposure as Darren Reay and Jamie Humble earner points successes, Kris Pilkington fought a tough draw whilst Ferryhill’s hard hitter, Kyle Redfearn, notched up another stoppage win, his third in four, to remain unbeaten, taking down Martin Orlusiak late in the second; cruiserweight’s Warren Baister and Simon Vallily also tasted victory as the former stopped Imantas Davidaitas early in the second, and the latter was pushed the distance by Blaise Mendouo over six.
After the show Hearn said of a potential return: “I’d like to come back to the Newcastle (Metro Radio) Arena in October with Vallilly vs. Baister, Stuart Hall in that kind of find, and Josh Kelly.
“Bradley needs another fight still because he’s been out a long time but after that I don’t see why he shouldn’t jump in at the deep end.
“We probably need one more to add real depth to the card as well but there was 2,000 tickets sold on Friday night and a lot of the young kids were starting out so it was very encouraging.”