After five-and-a-half years of hope and expectation, Josh Kelly (13-1-1, 7KOs) landed the performance of his career in December to claim the British super-welterweight title from Troy Williamson.
Sunderland’s Kelly danced and dazzled over twelve rounds to remind the sport why there was so much optimism around him turning pro in 2017.
Eight months on, the 29 year old returns to Newcastle’s Vertu Motors Arena to take on Argentina’s undefeated Gabriel Alberto Corzo (18-0, 3KOs) as he continues his journey towards world level.
After appearing tentative at times throughout his career previously, the Williamson fight saw a version of Kelly which looked to have been given a new lease of life.
The aftermath of his February 2021 defeat to David Avanesyan saw a parting of ways with previous promoter Eddie Hearn towards the Sauerland brothers and Wasserman Boxing, under whom he was won all three of his fights in comfortable fashion.
Corzo heads to UK shores as an unknown quantity – he was his 18 pro contests so far but all have taken place in the confines of his native Argentina against other unknown opposition.Embed from Getty Images
Kelly has won all three of his fights since losing to Avanesyan.
A cautious approach should always be adopted when facing opponents from Central and South America – there is a long list of British and Irish fighters who have had the rug swept from beneath them in recent years by men they were expected to dispose of handily – but Kelly no doubt should be held as a wide favourite.
Whether he will return to defend his British belt or continue on the increasingly favoured sanctioning body rankings route remains to be seen, but an assured and confident is a welcome addition to an already packed super-welterweight division.
The card will be streamed live on DAZN in the UK, with coverage set to begin at 7:00pm.
The chief support features an intriguing super-featherweight clash as Qais Ashfaq (12-1-0, 5KOs) faces Liam Dillon (12-0-1, 3KOs) for the vacant British title.
Leeds’ Ashfaq entered to the paid ranks to much acclaim after representing Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics but was stung badly by a unanimous decision defeat to Marc Leach in 2021.
The 30 year old has regrouped since, putting together a four fight winning run and looks to regain the progress he made prior to the Leach bout beyond this weekend.
London’s Dillon meanwhile hopes to add to the Southern Area and English belts he has already claimed at 130lbs.
The 27 year old is undefeated inside 13 fights – the only blemish being a split-decision draw to highly touted prospect Youssef Khoumari in 2019.
Elsewhere on the card, Birkenhead flyweight Chloe Watson (5-0-0) faces Laura Valdebenito (5-4-1, 2KOs) over eight rounds, while Newcastle heavyweight Steve Robinson (6-1-0, 4KOs) takes on Franklin Ignatius (5-0-1, 1KO) over the same distance.
Former English welterweight champion Samuel Antwi (15-2-0, 6KOs) runs out against Ruben Angulo (8-7-2, 4KOs) over six rounds in preparation for his British title clash against Mason Cartwright in September.