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.”
On Tyneside a rising is brewing as promoter Steve Wraith takes professional boxing to the peak, and will, as of this upcoming late Autumnal nights, be promoting from the bowels of St. James Park, the home of Newcastle United.
Earlier this year it surfaced that Steve and his Wraith Promotions brands, were taking their events to the city centre in a big move which met with applause across the region and fighters clamouring to be on the upcoming showpiece.
(From Camberwell, London, middleweight Mark Rowe, won on the last St. James Hall show in 1967, stopping Roger van Laere in the third round – he would become a British & Commonwealth champion)
As the build-up starts for that first show, the first since New St. James Hall hosted an event in May 1967 where both Mark Rowe and Larry Brown scored stoppage successes; and since September 1949 at the original St James Hall which saw a debut for Chester-Le-Street welterweight Jackie Keough (defeated visiting Leeds fighter Charlie Fawcett on points).
Now, moving forward nearly half a century, the ‘Showdown @ St James’ will see not one, but two Northern Area title fights take place as recently postponed bouts between Anthony Hardy vs. Lee Mould, and Tom Whitfield vs. Daniel Cope as Team Cope and Team Gates go head-to-head.
The latter bout will be an eagerly anticipated rematch after the pair clashed over six rounds at Rainton Meadows in March 2015, Whitfield (Gates) narrowly edged Cope (Cope Snr) in a tight decision.
(Images courtesy of Gary Bivens Photography of the first clash between Whitfield and Cope at Rainton Meadows, March 2015)
Keeping the matter in-cap so to speak, Whitfield and Cope will be joined by stable mates Lee Mould (Gates) and Anthony Hardy (Cope) respectively.
Mould has the greater experience at Championship having won the Area title himself against Craig Dixon in November 2014 and then going the distance for the English (welterweight) strap against Blackpool’s Adam Little seven months later, losing via unanimous decision.
(Above, Lee Mould takes the fight to Craig Dixon; Below, Anthony Hardy celebrates another victory)
Hardy meanwhile lost on a split when travelling to face Joe Hughes for the English (super lightweight) in July 2015 before suffering a shock first round stoppage in his last outing against Sam O’Maison in February for the British Challenge belt.
Both Tom Whitfield and Anthony Hardy have suffered, and are returning from recent injuries, we would like to wish them luck on their comeback trail and to all four title combatants later this year – it’s timeeeee!!!
Pro Boxing Newcastle Gateshead would also like to thank their sponsors, and the fans, for their continued support – long may it continue.
If you are interested in advertising and sponsorship opportunities around the upcoming ‘Showdown @ St James’ later this year see HERE
Former world title holder, Darlington’s Stuart Hall, is back in the mix after a slow and steady build-up to the fringes of a possible world title shot.
Boasting a 19-4-2(7) record, Hall, who won the British Lonsdale belt outright in 2011 before capping a remarkable career in Leeds in December 2013 when he defeated Vusi Malinga over twelve rounds, has been on a rollercoaster since.
That rollercoaster comes full circle this April when Darlington’s finest takes on Rodrigo Guerrero in a final eliminator for the IBF World super bantamweight strap, presently held by Hall’s foe, Lee Haskins.
Speaking of the chances presented him Hall said: “He (Guerrero) is a good fighter, a typical Mexican and we will have to use brains and tactics for this as he will come to fight – but I am going to win this whether on points or via stoppage.
“I’m back up there now, under the big lights and it’s going to be a great night of boxing, more so with Josh (Warrington) headlining and with Sky Sports the biggest stage of all, I’m on there now so I will win this, and then take care of my rematch with Haskins.”
“Eddie (Hearn) has done great to get this opportunity and I hope I’ll be able to repay him with the win, that’s the aim as this is my chance, my last chance, right now, and I will do everything in my power to win this, after all I wouldn’t have got this far without the help of my coaches and my wife Emma who is doing a fantastic job with our children.”
There are opportunities available to sponsor Stuart Hall in his world title eliminator and hopeful world title bid later this year, any interested parties should contact the PBNG Head of Media & PR, Peter Mann via email@example.com or 07596657371.
Read initial Matchroom Press Release HERE
Josh meets Amagasa and Stuart tackles Rodrigo Guerrero
Josh Warrington will defend his WBC International Featherweight title against Hisashi Amagasa and Stuart Hall lands an IBF World Bantamweight title final eliminator against Rodrigo Guerrero at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, on April 16, live on Sky Sports.
Warrington makes the second defence of his crown at his hometown fortress following his comprehensive win over Joel Brunker in September, and the Leeds star risks his title and unbeaten record against the dangerous Japanese visitor who floored Guillermo Rigondeaux twice in their clash in Osaka in December 2014. Hasegawa brings an ominous 20 KO wins from his 30 triumphs, and bags of experience from his 12 years as a pro.
Hall is looking to regain the title he landed in 2013 and must see off the Mexican Guerrero in order to hunt down a domestic dust-up with current champion Lee Haskins, looking for revenge over the Bristolian after they met for the European crown in July 2012. Former IBF Super-Flyweight World champion Guerrero brings 16 KO wins from 24 victories, and will be looking to derail the popular Darlington man’s attempts to take back his belt.
Tickets for April 16 go on pre-sale to Matchroom Fight Pass members tomorrow (Tuesday February 16) and on general sale on Wednesday on a stacked bill with further fights to be announced next week, and promoter Eddie Hearn believes it could be the most important evening in the careers of both men.
“This is a massive night for both Josh and Stuart,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Josh is hunting a summer clash with IBF champion Lee Selby, so he cannot afford any slip-ups against Japanese banger Amagasa.
“It would be a great story if Stuart could get his hands on the IBF belt once again – and he knows that this could be his last chance. Guerrero will be a handful for the Darlington man, but I know Stuart is desperate to land a fight with Lee and settle the score.”
Tickets are sale to Matchroom Fight Pass members from midday tomorrow (Tuesday February 16) with tickets priced at £30, £40, £60 and £100 and VIP tickets priced at £150 available from the Fight Pass area at www.matchroomboxing.com.
Tickets go on general sale from midday on Wednesday (Wednesday February 17) with tickets in the £30-100 bracket available from the First Direct Arena at www.firstdirectarena.com and on 0844 248 1585. VIP tickets priced at £150 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing at www.matchroomboxing.com.
Tickets for April 16 are also available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ – StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing.
MEDIA ALERT: JOSH WARRINGTON AND STUART HALL PRESS CONFERENCE ON WEDNESDAY IN LEEDS
WHEN: Wednesday February 17, midday for 12.30pm WHERE: The Leeds Club, 3 Albion Place, Leeds LS1 6JL
Eddie Hearn invites all media to a press conference at The Leeds Club at 12.30 on Wednesday (February 17) to announce details of our show at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on April 16. Warrington, Hall and show promoter Eddie Hearn will be available for one-on-one interviews.
So how was 2015 for you?
The latest issue of esteemed fight magazine, Boxing News (Jan 7 2016) has its updated, end-of-year, British Ratings and there’s a healthy contingent of regional fighters within all bar two divisions (no middleweight or featherweight ranked fighters).
Fighting Chance fighters head up the two main divisions with Jone TK ranked 21 in the heavyweights and Jon-Lewis Dickinson ranked 7 in the cruiserweight class; both divisions have two further fighters keeping them company with TK joined by Tyneside duo Michael Dixon (33) and James Barnes (35). whilst Dickinson sees Sunderland’s Warren Baister (39) and fellow Fighting Chance fighter Paul O’Hagan (45) just about holding their own.
Light Heavyweight and Super Middleweight has good regional representatives with four apiece, the former consisting of Jonson McClumpha (10), Sam Best (34), Scott Westgarth (37) and Steve Cooper (49) all holding a top 50 spot; whilst the latter sees Andrew Buchanan (25), Jordan King (28), Richard O’Neill (54) and Danny Wall (57) included.
There’ll be confusion with the ratings however as Fighting Chance duo of Paul O’Hagan (inactive) and Andrew Buchanan (retired) have not appeared for some time. O’Hagan had his first bout in sixteen months (February) against Tony Cruise and was stopped in the third round whilst nursing injuries, and Buchanan, who retired towards the end of the year for medical reasons, has not fought since February’s six round win over Mark Till. There is also no light heavyweight placing for the recently retired Travis Dickinson.
The Super Welterweight and Super Lightweight divisions also hold three regional fighters apiece with low placings for Lewis Scott (41), Basi Razaq (79) and Billy Snaith (99) in the former, Snaith however has only recently made his professional debut so expect that to change somewhat this year; and Anthony Hardy (36) sandwiched between the Saunders brothers, Bradley (9) and Jeff (45) in the latter.
As with O’Hagan and Buchanan in the higher divisions there’ll be confusion surrounding the placement of Sedgefield’s Jeff Saunders. Most outlets are still registering him has having had four fights when he has inn fact had five, and won all five, with his last being an impressive four round success in South Africa against Willis Baloyi.
The welterweight division is the busiest with eight fighters currently battling it out, three of whom hold a top 35 slot in Glenn Foot (7), Lee Mould (22) and Robert Dixon (23). Outside of the top 50 there is the upcoming Area title clash duo of Tom Whitfield (68) and Daniel Cope (69) as well as the recently-returned Gary Fox (52), Sunderland’s Isaac MacLeod (65) and Cope’s stable-mate, Liam Cammock (88).
With no Featherweights in the regional the lighter weight classes still has a good body of fighters although Mark White (44, Super Featherweight), Stuart Hall (4, Bantamweight) and Anthony Nelson (4, Super Flyweight) are presently lone soldiers.
In the Lightweight division there are five fighters fronted by Teesside’s Cameroon Olympian, Abdon Cesar (26) alongside tough duo and fellow Area title combatants John Green (30) and Peter Cope (31), other fighters ranked in the division include Lewis Ritson (37) and Jordan Ellison (81).
The final two divisions sees the Ward’s, Martin (5) and Tommy (8) holding court in the Super Bantamweight, joined by Paul Gidney (23) and the lightest division, the Flyweight’s, has Thomas Essomba (5) and Gary Reeve (14).