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Kirk Goodings staying active

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It may only be a little over a week since Sunderland’s Kirk Goodings made his homecoming but already he has been announced for two future bills.

Goodings returned from his time in London training with Tunde Ajayi at the famous Peacock Gym and was straight out on Phil Jeffries’ Loaded and Ready show. He returned with a four-round points win over Youssef Al Himidi.

His time in London may have been valuable experience but it was always marred by a lack of fights. His return North then has been totally the opposite with Jeffries announcing this week that Kirk will fight in Scarborough on May 11 and then in July on the Summer Rumble 4 bill.

The Scarborough show on May 11 was announced this week and will be topped by the return of Frank Maloney’s hot-prospect Danny Price.

The Summer Rumble will of course also be the fourth time Jeffries has hosted the annual summer event which for the last two years, and again this year, will be at the Stadium Of Light – home to Sunderland AFC.

Kirk said of staying active: “It’s great to be fighting on home turf back infront of my fans and staying active building up my profile and fan base.  I’m fighting May 11 too and then Summer Rumble.

“It’s great to be this active as I’m knocking on the door of titles so staying active is very important. By the end of 2013 I want to have a title and be ready for a British title.”

It has been a good period in Kirk’s career despite the fact that he has had only nine fights. His only loss came at the hands of Steve Williams but he actually gained great exposure after his brave performance. Now returning to winning ways against Hamidi proves Kirk is going in the right direction.

“I was really pleased to get back to winning ways.” Kirk said, “It means that my career can keep carrying on. I was pleased with my performance, although I couldn’t pin him down long enough to land heavy combinations.

“But if it had been a longer fight I think he would of slowed down and I’d of caught him a lot more. I’m a very versatile boxer and I can fight to which ever way is needed to beat the opponent infront of me.”

The Hamidi fight was also the first time Kirk had new trainer Shaun Casey in his corner but Kirk said that they worked really well together and having a new trainer didn’t affect him.

Now both Kirk and Shaun will be looking to push on in a busy couple of months that could see the young Sunderland light-welterweight move closer to his first title.

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ABAE Elite National finals results

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National Elite champion Josh Kelly with TTW ABA director Davey Newth.

Sunderland made history on Saturday by hosting the prestigious ABAE Elite Championship finals for the first time in the competitions 100-plus years history.

The Rainton Meadows Arena was packed to rafters as the Tyne, Tees and Wear ABA hosted an incredible event that will be remembered in the region for years to come.

That will certainly be the case for Houghton and District ABC’s Josh Kelly.

Kelly won the 63.5kg final over London’s Chris Mbwakongo (Lynn ABC) via a unanimous decision after a classy display from the Sunderland-born boxer.

Josh showed great footwork and was nimble throughout, boxing large parts of the fight on the back foot with his back against the ropes.

As he’s showed in previous rounds of the competition, he was more than comfortable with boxing like this and showed a good defence to block or weave away from almost everything Mbwakongo threw.

His counter punching was fast, accurate and also powerful and that earned Josh a memorable victory. Even more memorable when taking into account that this is Josh’s first year at senior after claiming the junior title last year.

Josh became only the seventh Sunderland boxer to claim the prestigious award, and the first for five years, after Warren Baister and Adam Whitfield (representing the Army) won in 2008.

In London in 2008 joining Baister in victory were names such as Luke Campbell, Anthony Ogogo, George Groves and a certain Mr. Tyson Fury.

If that list is anything to go by then it is possible that yesterday North East fans got an early glimpse of future champions in Rainton. Including Josh’s there was some very impressive boxers on show.

SAM_3088South Oxhey’s Reece Bellotti was certainly one who caught the eye, capturing the 57kg title with crowd-pleasing style.

Bellotti took the fight to Jack Daniel (Kelly’s ABC) from the off and he threw caution to the wind; throwing a lot of heavy leather.

His constant pressure and boxer-fighter style was just far to much for Daniel to handle. He took it on a unanimous decision. That meant he retained the title he won last year by beating Middlesbrough’s Joseph Maphosa.

SAM_3103Brother of hot Stockton prospect Bradley Saunders, Jeff showed he has the ability to follow in his older brothers footsteps capturing the 67kg crown with a unanimous victory over Sam McNess (Repton).

Saunders, representing the Army Boxing association, appeared to be just on top after a tight opening two rounds but after getting caught with a big left hook from McNess, Saunders closed the win with a massive flurry of aggressive shots.

The region was well represented in other weight categories too.

SAM_3126Also boxing for the Army, Skelton’s Anthony Richardson overcame a last round blitz from Nicholas Webb (Woking ABC) to claim the super heavyweight title.

Richardon was in control in the first two rounds picking off an aggressive but sloppy Webb as he came in with powerful hooks to the head.

Webb looked a lot bigger than Richardson though and in a tactic not too dissimilar from what the aforementioned Fury deployed in New York on Saturday, the Woking boxer leaned all over Richardson, tiring him with his weight.

That almost paid off when Richardson just looked completely drained with less than a minute to go and he was caught with a big left hook that sent him to the canvas.

He was back up and showed experience to clinch with Webb to regain his senses, but when he decided to restart the brawl again he was once more caught; this time receiving a standing eight count.

The bell went during the count meaning Richardson had survived, and via a 3-2 majority decision he got the win.

SAM_3118Sadly for South Durham’s Declan Fusco history repeated itself as he was beaten in the 91kg final by Greg Bridet (Heart of Portsmouth).

Last year at 86kg Fusco was also beaten in the final but this year stepped up to 91kg where he looked far more comfortable.

On the way to the final he beat Corby’s Simon Barclay who last year won the competition after beating none other than Bridet. Bridet was not to be denied this year though after a tight battle resulted in another majority 3-2 decision.

Fusco was in no way outboxed and on a few occasions he rocked his opponent with big hooks. Bridet had a solid snap jab though and it continuesly made its way through Fusco’s guard, resulting in him finishing with a lot of blood coming from the nose. Two public warnings for Fusco may have been the only difference.

SAM_3081It was a similar story for Joel Spragg who was a beaten finalist last year representing TTW club Spennymoor. This year his 51kg final was against GB squad member Jack Bateson (Burmantofts ABC), who last year won the 48kg final.

Spragg, now representing Brighton City ABC, tried to take the fight to Bateson who showed all the training he’s receiving with GB in Sheffield is paying off with a classy counter boxing display. The decision was unanimous.

SAM_3085One division up, the 54kg final could hardly have been shorter. West Ham ABC’s Lucien Reid claimed the title in less than ten seconds after throwing one punch that caused a nasty cut over the right eye of Manchester’s Marc Leach (Ardwick Lads ABC). He was left understandably devastated by the early stoppage.

Overall it was a fantastic and special day of boxing in the North East, and who knows yesterday we may have beared witness to the next generation of British world champions.

Other Results:

48kg Waleed Din (Sheffield Lane Top) WDSQ2 Luqmaan Patel (Earlsfield ABC)

60kg Ryan Fillingham (Army BA) LUPTS Isaac Dogboe (Territorial Army)

71kg Scott Fitzgerald (Larches & Savick) WUPTS Luke Saunders (West Ham)

75kg Adam Farrell (Salisbury) WUPTS Felix Cash (Guildford City)

81kg Ashley Vanzie (KBW) LMPTS Ricky Crotty (Hoddesdon)

86kg Jack Massey (Northside) WUPTS Chris Billam-Smith (Poole)

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Roundup: Loaded And Ready 19/4

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Glenn Foot’s sensational seventh round finish of Jason Cook was the highlight of a bill stacked full with North East talent.

Foot had earlier in the fight surprised Cook by using the boxing skills that he proved he had during his success in the amateurs. But when things got heated after a tussle in the fifth, Glenn neglected that somewhat in favour of his usual fighting style.

The result of that was Glenn scoring his second knockdown of the fight (after earlier knocking Cook down in the third with a good hook) with a wonderful right uppercut in the seventh that really shook the Welshmen.

A round earlier Cook had been cut on the right eye after what looked like an accidental head clash but not even promoters Phil Jeffries and Frank Maloney urging Glenn to calm down from outside the ring was going to stop Glenn at this stage.

Cook got up after the seventh round knockdown but Glenn was on top of Cook quickly and at almost the same time the towel came in from Cook’s corner as the referee stepped in to stop it anyway. Official time was 38 seconds of round seven.

Not only is it another stoppage for the former Prizefighter champion that sees his record move to 11 (6) – 0, but it is also adding the name of Cook (a former European and IBO champion) to his record as well.

This impressive victory could very well put the Sunderland man – who looked in fantastic condition – into contention to face the winner of Darren Hamilton and Adil Anwar when they clash for Hamilton’s British title on July 6 in Liverpool.

SAM_3067The main event between Mike Stafford and Birtley’s Jon-Lewis Dickinson for the latter’s British cruiserweight title was a tight and tense affair but because of injuries to both boxers, the entertainment value was somewhat reduced.

As expected Merseysider Stafford came out all guns blazing and looked to get on top of Dickinson.

He’s gone ten rounds only once and never before 12 and so it was expected that he would tire as he did in the later stages but it seemed from early on Stafford was having difficulty with his right arm.

After the fight he revealed that early in the fight he tore his bicep after throwing a punch.

Unfortunately for Dickinson though he couldn’t exploit that injury. As Stafford tired I noted that the Birtley man was in control but not really impressing and he could do with loosening up and throwing more.

Of course I was not aware that Dickinson too was carrying an injury to his pectoral muscle and he revealed after that he almost pulled out all together on Monday.

The show went on though and the risk paid off for the British champion who is now just one defence away from winning the Lonsdale belt outright. Judges scored it unanimously 118 – 112, 118 – 113, 115 – 113 for the champion.

That defence will be against Neil Dawson, 11 (4) – 1 (1), and from Rotherham who the British Board of Boxing Control have made mandatory challenger. Despite Dickisnon’s activity and injury the board have ordered the bout to take place by the end of July.

SAM_3055Sunderland’s Kirk Goodings made a triumphant return home on the undercard in an impressive attacking display against Syrain-born journeyman Yousef Al Hamidi.

Kirk got back to winning ways after the credible Steve Williams defeat, and took every round on the referees card making it 40 – 36.

Kirk showed his class in the fight on more than one occasion and after a big shot in the third he shook Hamidi and was unlucky not to record a stoppage. He moves to 8-1 and the potential is there now for Goodings to be busy at home.

SAM_3048Danny Hughes was the other Wearsider on the bill, returning from over 18 month out.

Hughes was matched against heavy Czech Ladislav Kovarik and won 40-36 in a comfortable but at times frustrating win for ‘Bad News’.

To say Kovarik looked out of shape would be an understatement, but he is certainly not the first Eastern European to look in not too great condition.

Danny ‘Boy’ got off to a great start and on two occasions in the opening round he caught the Czech with big shots that rocked him backwards. He did well to survive and frustrated Hughes throughout by preventing him from throwing combinations.

After the fight Hughes admitted his frustration and conceded that his opponent had done well to spoil his game plan and tie up to stop the second shot coming off.

He was still a comfortable winner though and, like Goodings, he’ll be hoping that his performance will earn him future spots on Jeffries’ bills.

SAM_3044I repeat one phrase every time when discussing Shields prospect Anthony ‘Babyface’ Nelson and that is “action guaranteed.” That proved the case again at the Rainton Meadows Arena.

Conceding 15 pounds to his opponent Ryan McNichol, Babyface made a brave decision to still box on and was rewarded for his commitment and heart, moving now to 6 (1) -0.

Even before the fight McNichol was somewhat of a risky opponent for Nelson to take on. McNichol had once beaten Nelson’s stablemate David Lake (although Lake would reverse the decision in a rematch) and most recently he proved a tough opponent for the other Mal Gates’ boxer Lee Mould.

Nelson’s heart would be tested even more when he was knocked down early in the first. A knockdown was ruled after a punch was landed but Anthony looked unhappy and that’s justifiable given that he appeared to fall over McNichol’s feet.

He rose though, showing great character to overcome the knockdown though and eventually won 29-27 on the referee’s card.

Hartlepool’s Callum Winton opened the show with a 39-37 victory over Paul Haines. As usual Winton brought down a strong army of followers who never let up from the first bell till the last.

SAM_3043Teeside’s former featherweight Commonwealth champion Paul Truscott returned on the bill with a six rounder. He had to overcome the dirty tactics by his opponent Sandor Racz who was deducted a point in the fourth for a number of low-blows. He showed composure and won every round meaning the card read 60-53.

SAM_3047Fishburn’s Gary Fox was left frustrated after he was unable to get into a fight like he would usually like to because his opponent Jason Carr had a clear height and reach advantage over him.

While Fox was always in control, he never looked happy that he had to box his way to a 40-35 victory rather than trade leather.

SAM_3054Newcastle debutant Chris Bennett drew one round but won the other three on his way to a 40-37 debutant win that delighted both him and his coach Paul Charters.

Bennett worked well from the jab and in the third he attacked the body of ‘Gypsy Boy’ Billy Smith well but it appeared after the fight that he may have damaged his hand during it.

Steve Wraith’s Black And White Fight Night is the next professional show in the North East.

That show is May 18 at O2 Academy Newcastle and the bill is set to feature some top Tyneside talent.

Phil Jeffries’ next show is going to be his annual Summer Rumble at the Stadium of Light expected some time in July.

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Roundup: Olympian ABC show 18/4

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Phil Jeffries had a busy week that started with his amateur club hosting a show at Farringdon Club on Thursday night.

Just 24 hours later Jeffries was co-promoting one of the biggest North East professional shows of the year, but first all eyes were on the young amateurs.

They did not disappoint either, as The Olympian – which was originally set up after Phil’s son Tony won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – hosted a fantastic night of boxing.

Featuring 13 bouts, there were many stand-out performances but none more so than that of senior boxer Liam Knight.

Second last on the bill Knight proved well worth the wait after he scored a devastating knockout victory over Danni Lay (Lambton Street).

The stoppage came in the third and final round but before that Knight was shook up in the first.

He was rocked by a shot from Lay and went down but he was off-balance because he had just threw his own shot. That was ruled a slip but there was no doubt about the eventual end.

After three gruelling rounds where both threw a lot of heavy leather. Lay tired and when Knight timed a massive left hook perfectly to his opponent’s jaw he was sent down and the referee waved it off immediately, such was the brutality of it.

Thankfully Lay recovered and credit should be given to Knight for his attitude and sportsmanship after the knockout too. In two years of watching amateur boxing that is the first KO I have seen and Knight is certainly a name I wont forget in a hurry.

That could also be said of young Olympian prospect Regan Cann who, along with Jaxon Laws from Plains Farm, produced one of the fights of the night.

Cann started aggressively and quickly looked to use his height and reach advantage. He went after his opponent throwing long and wide hooks that caught the eye and pleased the fans.

Both threw a lot of leather but Cann was first to the punch most of the time and gave an impressive performance against a gutsy Laws who didn’t give him anything easy. The judges did rule a unanimous decision for Cann though.

In a treat for boxing fans, London 2012 Olympian Thomas Essomba topped the bill in Farringdon.

After representing Cameroon at the Olympics (his second games after also competing in 2008) the light-flyweight decided to stay in the UK and has found base at Sunderland’s Olympian gym.

Essomba boxed both Olympic games at 49kgs and he might be slightly over that weight now but he was heavily outweighed by Hartlepool Headland’s Mick Hadfield.

Hadfield had boxed in this season’s senior ABA’s at 57kg and as a result of the weight differences Essomba really had his work cut out.

The Hartlepool boxer largely dominated the contest but it was still an experience to watch the two-time Olympian and I’m sure it will have been a relief for him to get back in the ring after coaches struggled to match him.

The Olympian’s Luke Jackson was certainly not short of fans in attendance. During his bout the atmosphere was intense as his loyal family and friends certainly made their voices heard and Jackson did not disappoint.

He won unanimously against Lewis Curry (Northumberland F&R) and showed a great boxer-fighter style and switched well in his attacks between body and head.

Full results from the show were:

Lewis Gordon (Olympian) Skills Bout Billy McGuire (Ward Degnans)
Ben Wilkinson (Olympian) WPTSUN Shaun Quirk (Pallister Park)
Regan Cann (Olympian) WPTSUN Jaxon Laws (Plains Farm)
Tommy Scott (Olympian) WPTSM Jake Longstaff (Newbiggin)
Dan Hilton (Olympian) LPTSUN Jack Winspear (Hartlepool Catholic)
Reece Nelson (Olympian) LPTSUN James Conlon (Forest Hall)
Stephen Lavender (Lambton Street) LPTSUN Darren Richardson (East Durham College)
Connor Pickering (Lumley) LPTSM Mickey Tunstall (Plains Farm)
Luke Jackson (Olympian) WPTSUN Lewis Curry (Northumberland F&R)
Tommy Shickle (Sunderland East End) WPTSUN Danny Evans (Plains Farm)
Adam Pickering (Lumley) WPTSM John Paul Anderson (Gus Robinson)
Liam Knight (Olympian) WSTPG3 Danni Lay (Lambton Street)
Thomas Essomba (Olympian) LPTSUN Mick Hadfield (Hartlepool Headland)
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Jon-Lewis Dickinson ready for Stafford defence

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Birtley’s cruiserweight British champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson has said he is fully prepared to defend his title against Mike Stafford.

Tonight (April 19) Dickinson makes the second defence of his Lonsdale belt, topping the Loaded And Ready bill at the Rainton Meadows Arena. The event is co-promoted by Phil Jeffries and Frank Maloney.

Dickinson said of the fight: “It’s brilliant to be headlining another big show in the North East and I’m looking forward to fighting in front of the North East fans again.

“There was a brilliant atmosphere last time [points victory over David Dolan] so hopefully it’ll be the same if not better.”

Yesterday both Dickinson and Stafford weighed in with Dickinson holding a height advantage over his opponent – who is a former ABA finalist.

Dickinson told Wearboxing that he hadn’t studied the Southport boxer but he has trained well for the event and will work his opponent out in the opening rounds. He is confident he’ll get the win.

“I’m confident all the time. I’m not a negative person anyway but I do feel I should beat him. Obviously I treat every opponent the same and I put the same work in for every fight.

“I’ve got to work just as hard as every fight because if I didn’t it could easily slip away. I’m going to go out there and hopefully get the win, I really believe I can do.”

Stafford’s last fight was in March but was only a four rounder against journeyman Simeon Cover. He’s done just ten rounds only once, 12 months ago when he beat Martyn Grainger to capture the International Masters title.

Dickinson believes his experience of good opponents and longer distances could be the difference.

His last fight with Sunderland’s David Dolan was testimant to his fitness and durability when he won a tight contest on points.

He said of the fight: “The fight with Davey was brilliant. It was the type of tough fight that I like, in your face for 12 rounds. Davey’s a tough lad and I landed a lot of hurtful shots but he got through it.

“Because of that though I know I can go at a high pace for 12 rounds and that is one of the things I hold over Stafford.”

The fight will be screened live on Loaded TV, Sky freeview channel 200. It will headline a packed bill at the Rainton Meadows Arena where tickets will be available on the door at £35 or £70 ringside.

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Cook will be a big name on the record for Glenn Foot

Glenn Foot wins the Prizefighter competition. Picture credit Sportinglife.com

Glenn Foot wins the Prizefighter competition. Picture credit Sportinglife.com

Glenn Foot is looking forward to stepping back into the ring for the first time since winning Prizefighter, and in Wales’ Jason Cook he has the perfect name to put his name high in the light-welterweight rankings.

Sunderland’s Foot is currently ranked 14 in the latest British rankings, but that is up at welterweight; the division he won Prizefighter in January.

After recovering from an elbow injury that almost forced him out of Prizefighter, Glenn is now looking  to use Cook’s big name to help his progression towards a title at light-welterweight, where he is more comfortable.

The bout is chief support on the Phil Jeffries and Frank Maloney co-promoted show at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Friday (April 19), which is topped by Jon-Lewis Dickinson’s second British title defence against Mike Stafford. It will also be televised on Sky freeview channel 200 Loaded TV.

Cook is now 38 year-old and he hasn’t boxed since October 2011 so it would appear his best years are behind him.

His better years were spent at lightweight where he won the European and IBO championships. He has had success at light-welterweight though and has twice fought for the British title at 147lbs.

The first came after an impressive showing in Prizefighter. He lost in the semi-final to Gavin Rees – who recently fought Adrien Broner – and that led to a shot at Lenny Daws in February 2010. A draw, after a very credible performance, meant Cook didn’t win the title.

Another shot came 18 months later against Ashley Theophane but that time he was KO’d in the tenth round. In the build up to this fight Jason has told various people in the media that he believes he’ll have too much for the younger Foot.

Glenn has responded saying: “Well we’ll see what happens on the night. I’m very confident though, I wouldn’t have taken the fight if I didn’t think I could win.

“I think I can make a big statement by beating Cook in this fight. We had four opponents pull out of the fight because they didn’t want to fight me so credit to Cook for wanting the fight.”

Glenn continued: “He’s had good experience and he’s a big name but he’s 38, I’m 25 and I’m in my peak so we shall see.”

When asked about his plans for the fight Glenn also joked: “I’ve got many plans for the fight but I’m not going to tell you! You’ll have to wait until Friday.”

He assured that the elbow problem had now fully cleared and his preparation had gone well. He is also proving to be a ticket seller, offing between 150 to 200 tickets to supporters.

Glenn concluded by saying: “I don’t want to be in boring fights. After Prizefighter I’m looking at making a real career out of boxing and Jason is a fighter who is going to come to fight to win not just sit back. I’m glad that it’ll be on TV too.”

*Promoter Phil Jeffries is keeping busy and tomorrow night (Thursday April 18) his amateur club, The Olympian, hosts a night of amateur boxing at Farringdon Social Club. It starts at 7pm with tickets priced at £12.

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Elite ABAE championship final preview

ABAE Final

April 20 – mark the date on your calendars. Why? Because a week today the nation’s top boxing amateur talents descend on the region for the Elite ABAE finals.

Formally known as the Senior ABAE championships, the tournament is rich in history. This year though sees the first time that our region (Tyne, Tees and Wear) has ever hosted the national final.

David Dolan; John McDermott; Carl Froch; Matthew Macklin; Derry Matthews; Paul Smith; Kevin Mitchell; David Price; Martin Murray; Tony Bellew; James Degale.

Jon-Lewis Dickinson; Luke Campbell; Kal Yafai; Stephen Smith; Bradley Saunders; George Groves; Liam Smith; Anthony Ogogo; Tyson Fury; Glenn Foot; Anthony Joshua.

Quite an impressive list of extremely talented boxers but why are they listed? Well the 22 names above are highlighted fighters who since the turn of the millennium have appeared in an ABAE senior elite final.

Securing your ticket for the event at Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday April 20 could mean you witness the next generation of British and world champions.

Making it through to the final and representing the TTW ABA is both Josh Kelly (Houghton and District) and Declan Fusco (South Durham). There should also at this point be a mention for Joel Spragg (Brighton) who until this year represented Spennymoor. He too has made it to the final.

Last year Declan Fusco made it to the final but in the 86kg cruiserweight competition. This year he has stepped up to 91kg heavyweight division and in reaching the final he had to beat last years 91kg champion Simon Barclay. He’ll meet Greg Bridet (Heart of Portsmouth) in the final.

That’s a very impressive achievement from Fusco, but perhaps even more impressive is the progress of Josh Kelly.

Kelly is competing in the elite competition for the first time after last year winning a national junior title. At the start of the competition Josh said he would be pleased to just qualify from the regional stages, and he is therefore delighted to have made it all the way to the final.

Josh said: “Like I said previously to reach the final in my region and win that was my goal for this season and anything else was a bonus. So to get this far, beating the competition I have, I couldn’t put it into words; it’s been sweet!”

It’s been a tough route to the 63.5kg final for Kelly , where he will meet Chris Mbwakongo (Lynn).

He picks out his pre-quarter-final victory over Ryan Mulcahy and his quarter final win over Sam Bowen (who came in with almost 100 amateur wins to his name) as his best performances so far.

His most eye-catching on paper though has to be his semi-fittw abanal win over three-time ABA champion Martin Stead (Army).

He said of that win: “It was awesome to beat a man who’s next birthday is his 30th. He started boxing probably for the army and seniors before I had even stepped in the ring; it’s a massive feat.

“It wasn’t really a tough fight physically but mentally as the focus levels were through the roof with him being taller and rangy. I had to make very attack count but not get countered.”

He continued: “I think I won the opener but thought he tagged me a few times in the second. When I started to sit off him and let him open up I seemed to run away with it in the third.

“I think it’s a lot to do with my style and the way I can adapt to various bouts and style of fights. I found I can box inside when needed and box on the outside when needed and Mix it in-between. Also being young and fast has helped me a lot.”

As for boxing the final in Sunderland it’s clear for Josh that this is perfect and he is really hoping for as much support as possible.

“I couldn’t have been born and bred in a better place. The finals are here so the support and atmosphere, fingers crossed, could be electric.

“It means everything to box in my hometown especially in the finals and I’m going to try to make it worth while!”

Tickets are still available for the boxing on April 20 which begins at 4pm. Ringside tickets are now sold out, but you can buy stalls tickets for £20 there are a limited number of VIP tickets available at £50.

Tickets are only available by calling 0114 223 5639 or 0114 223 5636. If you are unable to get through please try again as the ABAE are unable to return answer phone messages.

*The regional stages of the junior ABA’s got underway today. The preliminary rounds are taking place now at the Rainton Meadows Arena and we’ll have results from that as soon as we have them.

The full line-up for the Elite finals is:

48kg Waleed Din (Sheffield Lane Top) v Luqmaan Patel (Earlsfield)

51kg Jack Bateson (Burmantofts) v Joel Spragg (Brighton City)

54kg Marc Leach (Ardwick Lads) v Lucien Reid (West Ham)

57kg Jack Daniel (Kellys)  v Reece Bellotti (South Oxhey)

60kg Ryan Fillingham (Army) v Isaac Dogboe (Territorial Army)

63.5kg Josh Kelly (Houghton and District) v Chris Mbwakongo (Lynn)

67kg Jeff Saunders (Army) v Sam McNess (Repton)

71kg Scott Fitzgerald (Larches and Savick) v Luke Saunders (West Ham)

75kg Adam Farrell (Salisbury) v Felix Cash (Guildford)

81kg Ashley Vanzie (KBW Dewsbury) v Ricky Crotty (Hoddesdon)

86kg Jack Massey (Northside) v Christopher Billam-Smith (Poole)

91kg Declan Fusco (South Durham) v Greg Bridet (Heart of Portsmouth)

91kg+ Anthony Richardson (Army) v Nicholas Webb (Woking)