Exclusive: Sunderland or Newcastle? – Hearn urges North East fans to unite for Ritson / Kelly

Thomas Davison 25/04/2018


Eddie Hearn is brimming with excitement at the prospect of bringing boxing back to Newcastle on June 16th with local fighters Josh Kelly and Lewis Ritson headlining.

Matchroom take a show to the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, for the first time since Anthony Joshua defeated Jason Gavern back in 2015.

Ritson will be looking to win the British belt outright when he faces off against Paul Hyland Jr. and Kelly will be gunning to win the Commonwealth belt from Kris George of Australia.

Hearn has said for a while he wants to come back to put shows on in Newcastle, speaking exclusively to World Boxing News about his plans coming to fruition, he said: “It’s really exciting, we have been dying to come back, we were here with Joshua a few years back.

“I put it up there with Belfast and Liverpool in terms of a fight city, where they know their boxing, but you need an excuse to put on a Sky Sports fight night and with Ritson and Kelly they’re two guys who Sky are really behind.

“There are two fighters here from the North-East who could be world champions. You have Ritson fighting Hyland Jr. who is 18-0 to win the British belt outright and Kelly trying to become Commonwealth champion.”

Kelly is a native of Sunderland and Ritson is from Newcastle, two cities who have a bitter rivalry but Hearn thinks the North East will pull together and support the fighters.

“Why shouldn’t you support both fighters? For example, if two guys are from London and one is from North London and one is from East London it’s irrelevant, West Ham, Arsenal it doesn’t matter.

“This is the North East, we need to come together, Newcastle, Sunderland it doesn’t matter this is about all North East fighters. We have one guy from Darlington, one from Middlesbrough, one from South Shields.

“In fact, I should have mentioned that in the press conference” Hearn joked.

Other fights on the bill include Gavin McDonnell v Stuart Hall, Charlie Edwards v Anthony Nelson and Arfan Iqbal v Simon Vallily.

Thomas Davison is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow Thomas on Twitter @thomasdavison93