Unbeaten Thornley prospect Darren Surtees won the first title of his professional career on Saturday night as he beat Luke Keleher via first round KO at Rainton Meadows Arena.
Competing in only his 5th professional bout, Surtees (5-0-0 3KO) dispatched the more experienced Keleher (2-6-1 1KO) in just 89 seconds to clinch the International Classic Challenge belt, ending an impressive 2016 for the 22-year old.
Looking to make a statement in the night’s co-main event, both fighters began in ferocious manor; Surtees focusing on more precise, straight shots while Keleher replied with less conservative hooks and lunges.
The first breakthrough of the fight came courtesy of the County Durham native; a clean one-two stung his opponent and sent the Yorkshireman to the canvas within the first 30 seconds of the round.
Rising to his feet, perhaps prematurely, after just the fourth count Keleher appeared noticeably unsteady and was the victim of the fights second knock down just moments later.
A confident Surtees unloaded on ‘The Nuke’ and a well-timed left hook floored Keleher.
Having never been stopped in his professional career, Keleher bravely rose to his feet and after a quick inspection of the fighter, the referee allowed the battle to continue.
With an eye on a third win inside the distance, Surtees was spurred on by a partisan crowd and a final flurry of hooks to the body and head of Keleher forced referee Graeme Williams to step in, stopping the bout after 1 minute 29 seconds to stretch the County Durham fighters unbeaten record to five.
Onwards and upwards seems the only direction for the Thornley man who will be hoping for more of the same heading into the new year.