Josh Kelly (11-1-1, 7KO) will be counting on the support of the North East to get him over the line when he competes against Lucas Bastida (18-1-1, 10KO) for the WBO International Super Welterweight Championship, live on Channel 5.
This is an important fight and opportunity for one of these fighters to break into the world rankings with the World Boxing Organisation, where American 'Iron Man' Jermell Charlo reigns supreme as the undisputed super-welterweight champion.
After a dominant performance against Peter Kramer in his last fight, 28-year-old Kelly will now look to cement himself into the world rankings and reintroduce himself onto the global scene of the 154lbs division after a short bump in the road at welterweight when he was stopped by the formidable European welterweight champion David Avanesyan in 2021.
Although he didn't reach the same heights as his British opponent, Lucas did run his amateur record to an impressive 30-3 and was the Buenos Aires Province champion, Atlantic Coast champion, and local Mar del Plata champion. Trained by Fernando Sosa, he was unfortunate to receive a loss on his record just eight months after his pro debut, when a deep cut caused a scheduled six-round fight to be ruled as a TKO defeat instead of what should have been declared a Technical Draw.
The South American middleweight champion has defended his title five times and was ranked as highly as third place with the WBO just a few months ago.
Josh Kelly: “I'm buzzing, and I’m ready. There's no reason to sugar-coat the fact that my opponent will be putting even more into training to come and try to cause an upset. We are covering all bases in camp, and when you have world title aspirations you make sure you're preparing like a world champion. The WBO belt adds that additional spice to things, and it's about me going out there and being Josh Kelly that will see it leaving the arena with me in front of my friends and family. We are the North East, and we don't do things in half-measures. On fight night, I'll be there to push the pace and show why this will be the first belt of many.”
Lucas Bastida: “I’m in boxing to achieve my dream of becoming a world champion, and leaving my surname remembered and respected. I really appreciate this opportunity to fight for the WBO International belt in Newcastle. Winning this means everything and that’s why I’m prepared to travel abroad to compete. I have huge support from my family and my friends, they have a lot of faith in me. This is my first fight abroad, and I’m excited to travel to the UK and get to test myself against someone like Josh Kelly. I’ll go to the UK in the best condition I’ve been in. I know I have strong hands, I just need to be patient and wait for my moment. We are aware that we are going to his home, but in the ring it is just me and him. When the bell rings, we will see who’s better.”
The vacant WBO International super-welterweight title is on the line, last held by Magomed Kurbanov after he controversially outpointed Liverpool's Liam Smith in Russia last year.
Harlem Eubank (14-0, 6KO) taking on another decent opponent in Tom Farrell (21-5, 5KO) should be interesting, however, is it a sidewards step after beating Sean Dodd in two rounds in his last fight? Regardless, it'll still be an interesting and entertaining watch, especially as Harlem has stopped his last three foes.
UPDATE: Farrell withdrew due to contracting COVID, so Harlem now faces Mexican Eliot Chavez, who has won his last four 10-round contests - three by knockout and the last one, in April, by unanimous decision.