AS BIG nights of boxing begin to return to the North East, Josh Kelly and Lewis Ritson are emerging as the region’s homegrown stars.
On Saturday in Newcastle, Kelly outboxed and stopped brave Australian Kris George in the seventh round to win the Commonwealth title.
Kelly kept up the pressure throughout, establishing a stiff jab and his evasive and unorthodox style proved too much for the travelling fighter.
As the pressure grew and success seemed impossible, George's corner threw in the towel, the Australian leaving the ring with damaged hands and a suspected broken jaw.
Ritson won the coveted Lonsdale belt outright by successfully defending his British lightweight title for a third time. Ritson, who is becoming one of the most exciting fighters in Britain, blasted the well-respected Paul Hyland Jnr inside one round, making Saturday his seventh stoppage victory in a row and confirming his reputation as a demolition man.
Also on the card, Gavin McDonnell outpointed granite veteran Stuart Hall for the WBC international super-bantamweight title. Prospect Charlie Edwards scored a technical knockout against local lad Anthony Nelson in the third round and former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns returned with an expected stoppage win over Ivan Njegac, the 50th fight of Burns’s career.
In Texas, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jnr knocked out undefeated Mexican Carlos Ocampo in the first round of his title defence, continuing his rise up the pound-for-pound rankings and cementing his standing as one of the sports most ferocious boxer-punchers, having not gone the distance since 2014.
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