NORTH East fight fans will see two unbeaten world title hopefuls battle it out for a shot at a global crown as part of Josh Kelly's Sunderland homecoming next month.

Kelly fights in his home city for the first time as a professional when the 29-year-old takes on South African Roarke Knapp at Sunderland's Beacon of Light on Saturday, December 16.

And the co-main event on the night will be a high-level international scrap between Germany's Denis Radovan and New Zealand-based Russian, Andrei Mikhailovich.

The two highest ranked contenders in the middleweight division collide in a final eliminator for the IBF world middleweight title.

The pair are both putting their unbeaten records on the line in Sunderland in the hope of earning the right to challenge fearsome champion Janibek Alimkhanuly.

The world title eliminator acts as the co-main event to Kelly’s match-up against the highly ranked Knapp, with the Sunderland fighter daring to risk his own title ambitions against the big-punching South African.

Radovan said: "I don't waste time yapping like him and his crew. December 16th, my statement hits – not through the media, but right on his chin."

Mikhailovich hit back: “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to fight Denis. 

"To be fighting for a world title eliminator is a dream come true. Only one man will be left in my way after this victory.

“In the Wild West of Auckland, we are training hard to show everyone who I am. December 16th, I can’t wait.”

Kalle Sauerland, global head of boxing at Wasserman Boxing, said: “Radovan vs Mikhailovich is a brilliant fight to add to this massive show in Sunderland.

“Whether you’re sitting at ringside, or watching at home, you will love this one, and it will get the adrenaline pumping for the main event.

“Radovan and Mikhailovich are both unbeaten, both extremely confident and both laser-focused on winning a shot at the prestigious IBF world middleweight title. 

"Those ingredients together can mean only one thing – a great fight for the fans.”

There's plenty of local interest also on the card, with North East talents Dan Toward, Ben Marksby and Travis Waters in action, along with Harvey Lambert. More fighters and opponents will be announced in the coming days.

Tickets are on sale now at