MANCHESTER’S Jimmy “Kilrain” Kelly will contest the vacant WBO Inter-Continental super-welterweight belt on the undercard of Hughie Fury’s challenge for the WBO heavyweight title against Joseph Parker at Manchester Arena on September 23.
Kelly will feature as chief support on a card that includes the British bantamweight championship showdown between Josh Wale and Don Broadhurst, plus a British lightweight title eliminator between Joe Murray and Matty Fagan.
Popular Wythenshawe fighter Kelly faces Bulgaria’s Stiliyan Kostov over 12 rounds as he looks to get back into world title contention following his loss in his first attempt to the then-WBO champion Liam Smith back in December 2015.
A former WBC Youth champion, Kelly is on an unbeaten six-fight run since the loss to Smith, and a victory over Kostov – who’s claimed 16 out of 21 victories by KO – will put him back in the mix for a potential world title shot down the line.
“It’s one of the biggest fight nights in British boxing this year, and I’m thrilled to be chief support to Hughie’s challenge for the WBO title,” said Kelly.
“We’re both Manchester lads and we trained in the same club as amateurs, so I aim to make it a double on the night with him winning the world title and me capturing the WBO Inter-Continental title.
“Winning the title will get me into a great position in the WBO rankings and give me a clearer path towards my second shot at the world title, which I believe that I’m ready for again.
“I’m still only 24 and I’ve learnt plenty since the loss to Smith. It’s been hard work getting myself back up to this position, but I’ve gone six fights unbeaten since and I’m hungrier than ever to get back into world title contention.
“Kostov can be a dangerous fighter, he can whack a bit and I know that I’ve got to keep on my game and watch that sharp right hand of his. He took Brian Rose the eight-round distance last year, but I’ll be looking to make a strong statement by taking him out before the end.”