Bradley Saunders to face Michael Kelly in comeback fight

Bradley Saunders.
Bradley Saunders.

BRADLEY Saunders will face former Ireland title challenger Michael Kelly in his comeback fight.

Saunders takes on the Dundalk fighter on the massive Frank Warren show on July 20 at Wembley Arena where Dereck Chisora tops the bill.

The 27-year-old has not fought since an excellent eight-round points win over another Irishman, Peter McDonagh, on the Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff boxing debut bill last December in Manchester.

Saunders has been out after surgery on the left hand he damaged when landing a big shot to McDonagh’s head.

It is no secret the Gus Robinson Developments-based boxer has had hand trouble over the years though he hopes the expertise of “one of the best” consultants in the business has cured his problem.

He certainly seems to have done the trick on the evidence of Saunders thumping his fist into the bags of the Gus Robinson Developments gym when SportMail caught up with him.

“Mike Hayton, who is one of the best hand surgeons in Europe, if not the world, said he could do something,” Saunders told SportMail.

“I had a bone graft from my hip.

“My hand now feels great, I’m hitting as hard as I ever have.”

Saunders, whose strength and conditioning tainer is former Mr Universe Eddy Ellwood, should make it six wins out of six against Kelly, but the Irish hardman will not be a pushover at the venue in the shadow of Wembley Stadium.

A 38-year-old veteran he may be but he’s no soft touch.

Kelly is a former Military Games World champion and recently contested eight hard rounds with Northern Ireland’s Kevin O’Hara for the Warrior Irish light-welterweight title.

The narrow defeat was his fifth in 14 bouts but his reputation as one of boxing’s tough men is well deserved.

Saunders’ coach Peter Cope agreed: “Kelly has fought for titles and never gets knocked out.

“He’s only ever been stopped once and that was against Frankie Gavin for the Irish light-welterweight title.

“I don’t think it will be long before we see Bradley fighting for a championship but given he’s been out seven months he needs a good contest to get back into the groove.

“A contest with Kelly looks like a good one.

“Bradley is in fantastic shape. I don’t think I’ve seen a boxer with his strength.

“He’s an incredible athlete and boxer.”