Three weeks ago to the day Houghton and District ABC’s Josh Kelly made history by becoming the first ever Sunderland boxer to win the ABAE Elite championships at the first time of asking.
Even more fitting was the fact that Josh won the event, formally known as the Senior ABAE’s, while it was being hosted in the North East for the first time in the history of the prestigious event.
The momentous achievement from Josh certainly meant a lot to the young boxer and he described it as ‘the happiest moment in my boxing career.’
Josh won the 63.5kg final at the Rainton Meadows Arena, beating Chris Mbwakongo (Lynn ABC) via a unanimous decision. His performance was very impressive and has earned the young boxer many plaudits, including the award of best boxer in Boxing News Magazine.
Josh said of his performance: “I loved every minute of it. The opponent was very good, rangey, and tall. I thought I was faster with my feet and my hands which helped me to out-move and out-box him.
“It went exactly as we planned, to bring him in on the front foot and land some good counter shots. Then when I stepped forward I kept tight and landed some good power shots. Hopefully this will have opened a lot of doors for me and hopefully I have impressed the right people.”
It certainly appears Josh has impressed the right people. In his weekly column in the Sunday Sun Tony Jeffries revealed Josh had been offered some professional deals by a number of promoters but he has stayed amateur to pursue his dream of boxing in the Olympics.
Today Josh was also boxing in Sweden where not only was he representing England again internationally, but he was also captaining the side.
News has just come through that Josh was defeated on points, but the experience of boxing an away international and also the honour of captaining your country, will stand Josh in good stead for the future.
Josh has also recently been included in the GB Development squad, making his Olympic dreams a lot more realistic. He also hasn’t ruled out next year’s Commonwealth games in Glasgow.
He said: “I’m delighted to make the development squad but I am looking to push on and make the podium squad. Qualifying for the Commonwealth games next summer would be a huge feat given the short notice.
“However, with my recent success I wouldn’t rule it out. Hopefully my luck continues. The Rio Olympics in 2016 is definitely my goal though. It would be unbelievable to box at the Olympics and hopefully now it is achievable.”