BRADLEY Saunders will be back – and headlining the next show at the Metro Radio Arena in September.
That’s the hope of promoter Eddie Hearn following the success of Matchroom’s visit to Newcastle at the weekend.
He’s had an operation and I think he’ll be punching again in around eight weeksEDDIE HEARN
The crowd lapped up an exciting night of boxing – and that was without the presence of the unbeaten 29-year-old.
Saunders had been due to top the bill on Saturday night, only to be forced to pull out of his crack at Dave Ryan’s Commonwealth light-welterweight title because of a danaged right hand.
The Sedgefield sensation has had surgery which Hearn told SportMail had gone well.
“He’s had an operation and I think he’ll be punching again in around eight weeks,” he said.
“We’ll look to get him out somewhere in the summer and then bring him back here and headline in September.”
While the only ring contrubution for Saunders on Saturday night was an interview with Sky Sports expert Johnny Nelson, there was no lack of North-East title success.
The little and large act of Anthony Nelson and Jon Lewis Dickinson both brought the house down with stoppage wins.
Nelson was thrust into main event territory after the loss of Saunders v Ryan and the South Shields super-flyweight took his chance in the spotlight.
The 29-year-old clinched the vacant Commonwealth title when he beat Jamie Wilson, the Scotland corner retiring their brave but exhausted battler after six rounds.
It took Dickinson some five minutes longer in the other England v Scotland championship showdown.
The Birtley cruiserweight revived his career by halting defending champion Stephen Simmons to win the WBC silver international cruiserweight belt.
The Edinburgh fighter had the best of the opening stages but Dickinson got better as the fight wore on and floored Simmons with a right in the eighth.
Simmons beat the count but referee Ian John Lewis stopped the wobbly Scot on two minutes, 15 seconds.
Travis Dickinson could not match the efforts of his brother and was stopped in two minutes, 31 seconds of the first round by Spain’s Mustafa Chadlioui.
Seven bouts failed to reach the final bell – Hetton light-heavy Jordan King needed only 50 seconds to beat Iain Jackson – and there was no shortage of entertainment with only one of the 11 contests being poor fare.
“I think the show had everything,” said Hearn. “Jon Lewis Dickinson had to wein tonight and it was a career-defining fight.
“I was gutted for Travis – it was a shocker but that’s boxing.
“Anthony Nelson’s win was the fight of the night for me.
“We’re coming back here in September and he’ll be a part of it, so will Jon Lewis and Travis should be back.
“There is a nice little thing building here. I thought this was a really good card and had Bradley been on as well it would have been incredible.
“The turn-out was great and the atmosphere brilliant.
“It was a big coup having Anthony Joshua here but we need to develop the fighters we have here in the North-East.”