Josh Kelly says fighting for Commonwealth title is ‘big step up’

Josh Kelly believes big-time boxing will be back to stay in the north east if he can rip the Commonwealth welterweight title from Kris George at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday June 16, live on Sky Sports.

Kelly is aiming for his second pro title having landed the WBA International strap at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in March against former World ruler Carlos Molina in just his sixth outing in the paid ranks.

‘Pretty Boy’ puts that title on the line against George, who is defending the Commonwealth title for the second time having seen off Jack Brubaker in October after landing the crown in November 2016 against Cameron Hammond.

The 28-year-old George will look to derail Kelly’s progress, but with a card stacked full of local talent led by co-headliner and British lightweight king Lewis Ritson, the Sunderland ace plans to add more silverware in style.

“It’s a massive night for boxing in the north east and it’s a big step up to fight for the Commonwealth title in my seventh fight,” said Kelly. “It’s another puzzle for me to solve, I like to look at fights like they are problems to work out and I feel that I’ll do it in good fashion.

“Lewis has got a massive fanbase and I am really building a good following too so it should be a brilliant night.

“I’ve seen videos and clips of Kris in action, I like to study them. He’s quite raw and as an Australian he’s going to be tough and a proud champion, he’s a worthy title holder but I feel that I’ll show I’m a level above.

“I have to keep winning so that we can keep coming back and putting on big nights like this. The north east hasn’t had anything this big for a long time and to look at the quality of young talent on the bill it shows that there’s a bright future up here – as long as we all perform.

“That’s what I intend to do on June 16 and I’m sure the other boys will as we want to put it on the map.

“When boxing is involved, what football team you support goes out of the window. There will be Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle fans there on the night and they’ll all come together to support the lads.

“When you are this end of the country you are fighting from day one to get noticed, so to box on a card like this on Sky Sports it’s massive, and we need the fans from all over to get behind us so we keep coming back.

“I’m moving fast and I cannot wait to see where I will be in a year’s time.”

Watch Josh Kelly’s clash with Commonwealth welterweight champion Kris George, live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 16.