Jr. Welterweight contender Lewis Ritson scored a twelve round unanimous decision over rival Robbie Davies on Saturday night at the Newcastle Arena in Newcastle, England. In what was billed as a world title eliminator in the World Boxing Association (WBA) rankings, the fight began at a high pace with both fighters willing to exchange power punches. Ritson had particular success in landing his left hook to the head of Davies early in the fight, but Davies seemed to immediately attempt to return offense whenever Ritson would land flush.
The pace of the fight did not slow over the first half of the bout with both fighters being content to battle it out on the inside. Although it was difficult to determine who had an advantage during this stage of the fight, it appeared that it was Ritson landing first and Davies answering. While this is not always a determining factor, the fighter who lands first can get the benefit of doubt from the three official judges. It was nevertheless a close, competitive fight, and was very much up for grabs as the bout entered the second half.
In contrast to the first half of the fight, Ritson was able to establish distance between himself and Davies over the second half of the fight and used his longer reach and lateral movement to keep Davies from being effective. Although Davies was able to get Ritson against the ropes periodically during this stage of the fight, he was not able to sustain it and it appeared Ritson was out working him over the bout’s second half. The two fighters engaged in an entertaining back and forth exchange in the twelfth and final round that was fairly even, but Ritson’s ability to out box and out work Davies over most of the second half of the fight would allow him to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision. Official scores were 117-112, and 116-112 (On two scorecards) in Ritson’s favor. Lewis Ritson advances to 20-1, with 12 Knockouts. Robbie Davies falls to 19-2, with 13 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
Also in the Jr. Welterweight division, undefeated rising prospect Darren Reay fought to a four round draw with Eduardo Valverde. Darren Reay advances to 6-0-2, with 1 Knockout. Eduardo Valverde advances to 2-2-1, with 1 Knockout.
In a bout for the British Jr. Middleweight championship, undefeated Scott Fitzgerald scored a controversial twelve round unanimous decision over champion Ted Cheeseman to win the championship. To the surprise of many, this observer included, Cheeseman showed impressive technique and lateral movement throughout the fight. The champion’s ability to make Fitzgerald miss, control the tempo of the combat, and pick his shots appeared to be the story of the fight. Although Fitzgerald was able to land some effective body shots in the later rounds, it seemed that it would not be enough. Despite the opinion of yours truly, all three judges scored the fight in favor of Fitzgerald. Official scores were 116-113, and 115-113 (On two scorecards) in favor of Fitzgerald. Scott Fitzgerald advances to 14-0, with 9 Knockouts. Ted Cheeseman falls to 15-2-1, with 9 Knockouts.
In the Welterweight division, undefeated Joe Laws scored an entertaining four round decision over Justice Addy. Laws had success throughout landing flush left hands yo the head of Addy that did stagger him periodically over the course of the fight, but had to settle for the convincing decision victory as Addy was able to go the distance. Joe Laws advances to 8-0, with 4 Knockouts. Justice Addy falls to 16-6-1, with 14 Knockouts,
Undefeated Women’s Super-Middleweight Savannah Marshall scored a one-sided third round stoppage of Ashleigh Curry. Marshal consistently pressed Curry against the ropes and ripped hooks to the body that were frankly only stopped by the bell ending a round. The one way traffic was finally stopped at forty-seven seconds into round three when Curry’s corner threw the towel in to save their fighter from further punishment. Savannah Marshall advances to 8-0, with 6 Knockouts. Ashleigh Curry falls to 8-13-4, with 1 Knockout.
In the Light-Heavyweight division undefeated prospect Lawrence Osueke and Ricky Summers fought to a controversial split decision draw. Although Osueke appeared to control the relatively uneventful bouts from the outset, two official judges felt the fight was closer than the action in the ring would appear to indicate as one judge gave the bout to Summers by a score of 96-95, while the second of three judges had the fight even 95-95. What makes this baffling is the third judge that had Osueke winning the fight gave him every round and turned in a final score of 100-90 resulting in the split draw. Lawrence Osueke advances to 9-0-1, with 1 Knockout. Ricky Summers advances to 16-2-1, with 5 Knockouts.
Heavyweight Martin Bakolie scored a fifth round stoppage of faded former world title challenger Kevin Johnson. From the opening bell Bakolie forced the action on the forty year old Johnson. Beyond an occasional counter punch, Johnson was content to sit on the ropes and attempt to slip Bakolie’s offense. The end came when a barrage of unanswered punches from Bakolie forced a referee stoppage in round five. Official time of the stoppage was :58 of round five. Martin Bakolie advances to 14-1, with 11 Knockouts. Kevin Johnson falls to 34-16-1, with 18 Knockouts.
In the Jr. Middleweight division, rising prospect Kieron Conway scored an eight round decision over Konrad Stempkowski. Conway was in command from the opening bell keeping Stempkowski on the defensive with a well-balanced attack to the head and body. Conway scored a knockdown of Stempkowski in round six with a left hook to the rib cage. Although he was tactically out gunned, Stempkowski showed his mettle and was able to go the distance. Kieron Conway advances to 13-1-1, with 3 Knockouts. Konrad Stempkowski falls to 9-2, with 0 Knockouts.
Super-Middleweight Jon Docherty remained unbeaten with a six round decision over Lewis Van Poetsch. Jon Docherty advances to 7-0, with 5 Knockouts. Lewis Van Poetsch falls to 9-113-2, with 2 Knockouts.
In the Jr. Welterweight division, Terry Wilkinson remained undefeated by scoring a four round decision over Daryl Pearce. Terry Wilkinson advances to 8-0, with 0 Knockouts. Daryl Pearce falls go 1-4, with 0 Knockouts.
Women’s Welterweight April Hunter successfully made her professional debut with a four round decision over Borislava Goranova. April Hunter advances to 1-0, with 0 Knockouts. Borislava Goranova falls to 11-59-4, with 0 Knockouts.
Light-Heavyweight Thomas Hart scored a four round decision over Darryl Sharp. Thomas Hart advances to 3-0, with 1 Knockout. Darryl Sharp falls to 5-63-1, with 0 Knockouts.
This card provided a little of everything that most identify with the sport of Boxing. Rising prospects looking to take the next step forward in their careers, exciting competition, and yes, the element of controversy.
In terms of the main event of this card, it is not out of the realm of possibility to think that there could be a rematch between Lewis Ritson and Robbie Davies down the line. For now, Ritson appears to be in the hunt for a world championship fight against current WBA Jr. Welterweight world champion Regis Prograis. As most know, Prograis will meet current IBF world champion Jpsh Taylor next week in a unification bout, which is also coincidentally the final of the current World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) Jr. Welterweight tournament. It is likely that Ritson could face current WBA number one contender Mario Barrios, who currently holds an interim/regular championship designation in the WBA’s Jr. Welterweight ratings before a potential fight with the winner of Prograis-Taylor. Lewis Ritson however, has established himself among the top contenders in the division and if he can continue to win at the world level of the sport, he will likely be challenging for a world championship soon rather than later.
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