RITSON EDGES PAST VAZQUEZ VIA SPLIT DECISION – RESULTS FROM PETERBOROUGH

12 x 3 mins WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title
LEWIS RITSON WS12 (116-113 Vazquez, 117-111 Ritson, 115-113 Ritson) v MIGUEL VAZQUEZ
(Forest Hall)                                                                                                          (Mexico)

Lewis Ritson won a controversial split decision against Miguel Vazquez at the East of England Arena in Peterborough to claim the vacant WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title and improve his record to 21-1 (12 KOs).Newcastle’s Ritson looked in trouble of slipping to defeat through 12 frustrating rounds which he later described as an “eye-opener”. Ritson got the nod from two out of three judges, with one giving the fight 116-113 to former Lightweight World Champion Vazquez.
“It just depends what you like doesn’t it,” Ritson told Matchroom afterwards. “He was tapping me and running away. I was hitting him with the cleaner jabs. It was very frustrating being out the gym a year and then facing that style.

It was probably more awkward than I thought it was going to be. The more the fight went on the more frustrated I got. It was a big eye opener. We’ve been mentioning the Prograis fight, tonight was a bit of an eye opener that we’re a million miles off that fight.

“We need a couple more fights like Vazquez, maybe not his style. That’s what you get when you step up. We had a hard job doing it. I’m improving as a fighter but I’ve got a lot more improving to do.”

10 x 3 mins British Super-Bantamweight Title Eliminator
QAIS ASHFAQ v MARC LEACH UD10 (95-93, 96-93, 96-92)
(Leeds)                (Salford)

Salford’s Marc Leach earned himself a shot at British Super-Bantamweight Champion Brad Foster as he upset former amateur star Qais Ashfaq, dropping him twice on the way to winning a unanimous points decision in their ten-round eliminator

“I’m feeling over the moon,” Leach told Matchroom afterwards. “I’ve said before in previous interviews, the underdog tag means I’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain. I felt good in there. Mine, Jamie’s and Nigel’s tactics worked to a T. Happy days.

“I felt like I had had him in trouble. Nigel and Jamie know that I’ve got power behind me. We moved up a weight as well. I presume he didn’t know I had that power. I believe in myself and it worked. Even at my weight, Bantamweight, I’m supposed to be next in line for the British Title. Whichever one comes first, I’ll happily take.

“Hopefully after one or two more fights at this level I won’t have to work anymore. This is the life I have chosen. I work nights, six until two. It’s not ideal but I’ve got kids to feed and a family to look after. Hopefully this turns into more opportunities for me.”

6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest 
JOE LAWS v RYLAN CHARLTON WKO3 (1:39)
(Benwell)      (Norwich)

Joe Laws was knocked out and lost his unbeaten record in a disastrous fight against Rylan Charlton. Fan-favourite Laws was sent crashing to the canvas three times in a third-round wipe-out.Charlton hurt Laws with a body shot in the earliest exchange then floored him with a left hook in the opening round. Laws never recovered – Charlton did major damage with the second knock-down then landed a massive uppercut which ended the fight in brutal fashion.‘The Benwell Bomber’ Laws entered wearing his trademark Mexican attire and sporting a nine-fight perfect record but experienced the most punishing night of his short career against the ‘Pint Size Powerhouse’ Charlton.“It’s what I expected,” said Charlton afterwards. “I’ve been training my ass off for this. No disrespect to Joe, I think he’s a great guy, a great boxer, but he’s a ticket seller. He sells loads of tickets to get into the positions that he gets in. He’s a good fighter and he’s a very nice guy. I have been training my ass off. I can’t really sell that many tickets. I’m the fighter. I’m just pleased I got the opportunity to showcase my skills. 
 
“I felt like it got a little bit scrappy at some point. I was trying to stay as composed as possible. I saw the opening and I stuck it up there. That’s all she wrote. I always knew that this would be the result. I trained too hard for it not to be the result. My power was too much.

“Pint Size Powerhouse all the way! He’s got a massive following and this won’t be the end of Joe. He’ll be back. This has just rocketed my career in the right direction. Eddie get this contract, and let’s go! Get me out before Christmas.”

10 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest SD (88-85 Essomba, 88-84 Ward, 86-86 draw)
THOMAS PATRICK WARD v THOMAS ESSOMBA
(West Rainton)                      (Wolverhampton)

Thomas Patrick Ward survived a horror cut in his war-draw with Thomas Essomba but lost his status as Britain’s most in-form fighter. 

The County Durham Super-Bantamweight, trained by Neil Fannon alongside Lewis Ritson in Hartlepool, arrived at the East of England Arena with a perfect 29-0 record and both eyes on a World Title shot in 2021.

But an accidental clash of heads in round seven of the rollercoaster rumble took the fight to the cards early and the three judges could not split the rivals. “To be honest, the fight was close, but I knew I was better than him,” Essomba said afterwards. “We had the accident, and then the judges decided the outcome, I have to respect their decision. I didn’t see the head clash. I don’t know who’s fault it was.

“I’ve had a really long and good camp since my last fight against Sunny Edwards. If I would have had two or three more weeks’ notice then I could have prepared more for Tommy. I had six days’ notice. I know if we fight again the fight will be totally different. I will give him a rematch, any time and anywhere.”

6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest 
KANE BAKER WPTS6 (59-56) v MESHECH SPEARE
(Birmingham)                              (Liverpool)

Birmingham’s Kane Baker handed a first loss to Tony Bellew’s Meshech Speare, outpointing the Liverpudlian over six rounds. 

Speare’s crafty left hand twice snapped back Baker’s head inside the first 45 seconds. Baker wouldn’t take a backwards step but his come forward style played into Speare’s hands at times. Speare landed the best punch of a reckless exchange in the final seconds of the opening round. 

Baker’s determination to plough forwards resulted in him being caught by lead hooks. Another vicious brawl broke out in the second round and Speare had the best of it. Speare went two rounds up after a breathless start to the fight. Baker began piling on the pressure in rounds three and four, and suddenly the 30-year-old looked the most comfortable boxer in the ring. Up close, Baker banged away at the body and Speare was coming off second best. Former Midlands Area Lightweight Champion Baker was by far the busier fighter in the second half of the fight and his relentless pace earned him a 59-56 points win on the referee’s scorecard. 

“I’m floating,” said Baker afterwards. “It’s amazing. I’ve been here a few times. That winning feeling is something else. When I fought Fiaz two weeks ago my corner was quite confident in how I was doing. Tonight, they were telling me I was losing every round! I did think I’d won, but you just don’t know.”When I heard Birmingham first, I knew then and it was amazing. He caught me twice to be fair. He caught me with two good shots. He’ll be back again, he’s a strong kid. I hope it was a good fight for the fans. It was a lot tougher this time than it was two weeks ago. The two weeks off didn’t recharge me as much as I’d have liked. It was tough but I was never going to say no to being here. I bit down on the gumshield and toughed it out.”

6 x 2 mins Super-Bantamweight Contest 
ELLIE SCOTNEY WPTS6 (60-53) v BEC CONNOLLY
(Catford)                                           (Swindon)

Catford’s acclaimed amateur Ellie Scotney shined on her professional debut as she outpointed Bec Connolly over six rounds, dropping the tough 36-year-old in the third.

Scotney’s fast left hook connected four times inside the first minute. The speed advantage for Scotney was blatant to see during an impressive and dominant first round.

An overwhelming flurry of hooks forced Connolly to sink to a knee in the third round. With 10 seconds left in the round, Scotney landed more hard shots but the bell saved Connolly.

22-year-old Scotney tried to force the stoppage but Swindon’s Connolly bravely stood up to her best punches, despite bleeding from a cut above her right eye. 

Scotney was in complete control throughout her impressive debut but Connolly heard the final bell, with the referee awarding Scotney a 60-53 win on his card. “Bec is a tough person and she came to fight,” Scotney told Matchroom afterwards. “It was brilliant to share a ring with her. She gave it her all. She’s a nice woman. I feel like I’ve got a lot to work on still. I’m 22 and boxing at the weight above, so now I’ll be going down to the weight I should be at and I’m so looking forward to getting out again.

“I rushed it a little bit. I got a bit carried away when I landed a shot. I’ve got a lot to work on. I’m buzzing to get the first one out of the way. It’s been a long time coming. I’m going to get back in the gym on Monday if Adam lets me. I love boxing.”
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RITSON VS. VAZQUEZ WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

19:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS ARENA

20:15 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT

6 x 2 mins Super-Bantamweight Contest 
ELLIE SCOTNEY 8st 13lbs 12oz v BEC CONNOLLY 8st 13lbs 2oz         
(Catford)                                           (Swindon)

Followed by

6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest 
KANE BAKER 9st 12lbs 0oz v MESHECH SPEARE 9st 12lbs 0oz
(Birmingham)                            (Liverpool)

followed by

10 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest 
THOMAS PATRICK WARD 8st 11lbs 3oz v THOMAS ESSOMBA 8st 11lbs 2oz         
(West Rainton)                                              (Wolverhampton)

followed by

6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest 
JOE LAWS 10st 6lbs 9oz v RYLAN CHARLTON 10st 4lbs 4oz
(Benwell)                              (Norwich)

followed by
 
10 x 3 mins British Super-Bantamweight Title Eliminator
QAIS ASHFAQ 8st 9lbs 7oz v MARC LEACH 8st 9lbs 8oz
(Leeds)                                      (Salford)

followed by
 
12 x 3 mins WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title
LEWIS RITSON 9st 13lbs 3oz v MIGUEL VAZQUEZ 9st 13lbs 3oz
(Forest Hall)                                (Mexico)
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RITSON VS. VAZQUEZ + UNDERCARD PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Lewis Ritson – Forest Hall, England – 20-1, 12 KOs – fighting Miguel Vazquez for the WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title:

“We need to get past Vazquez, he’s our main focus. We’re not looking past Saturday. If we can get past him, and we’re confident that we can, then we’ll start looking at those other big names. I think I’ll put an even better performance on behind closed doors with no pressure on my shoulders. When I first saw him at the first press conference, I thought he looked massive. Now he looks quite skinny, quite frail, to be fair, but we’ll see on Saturday night what he comes to bring. We know that we’ll bring our A-game.Asked if he is nearing world class, Ritson said: “Very close. Sparring is sparring, it’s totally different when you get in there and fight, so you can’t really take much off sparring, but if you did off the sparring, we’d be very happy with where we are and where we can end up. Get past this, hopefully the lockdown eases down, and we’ll get back to Newcastle and in front of a packed crowd and some big fights to come.

Miguel Vazquez – Guadalajara, Mexico – 42-9, 16 KOs – fighting Lewis Ritson for the WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title:

“We have been training for this fight for a long long time. Obviously it got delayed, but we have been ready for this fight for a long time and I’m up against a really tough fighter in Lewis Ritson. It is a great opportunity for me. It is a really big fight for me and it’s not going to be an easy one at all which is why I have been preparing as hard as I possibly can for this. When people watch the fight they can expect to see a Miguel Vazquez that is prepared to go on to become a World Champion again. I’m ready to win. All the fights that I’ve had have enabled me to get to where I am now. It was a great experience fighting against Canelo. But all of the people I’ve faced during my period as World Champion as well were important for my career.”

Qais Ashfaq – Leeds, England – 8-0, 3 KOs – fighting Marc Leach in a Final Eliminator for the British Super-Bantamweight Title:

“It has been amazing. I feel like I’m coming on leaps and bounds with Angel Fernandez and the team in Loughborough. I’m looking forward to showing what I’m about on Saturday night. Get this fight out of the way on Saturday and get a good stylish win, and then move on and win that British Title. I’m part of a fresh new team, coaching as well as management. I believe it has freshened me up in many ways and I’m learning things that are going to show on Saturday. I look forward to showing the improvements. The management team will drive me in the right direction. I’m learning a lot in the gym now. My improvements in the gym have been huge. The facilities at Loughborough University are unbelievable, we have everything that we need.”

Marc Leach – Salford, England – 14-1-1, 3 KOs – fighting Qais Ashfaq in a Final Eliminator for the British Super-Bantamweight Title:

“We’ve sparred each other over the years so we know a bit about each other. I’m just going to take every round as it comes and perform to the best I can. I feel a bit stronger. As everyone knows, the last two or three pounds is the hardest to make. I haven’t had to do that this time so I’m feeling fit and strong. I can’t wait now. Jamie is my coach and he had the British Title. I’m bringing it back to Salford where it belongs. My weight or the weight above, I just need the opportunity to fight on shows like these. Thanks to Qais and everyone else for accepting it. It’s going to be a bit cagey as we know each other so well but I think I’ll win on points.”

Joe Laws – Benwell, England – 9-0, 5 KOs – fighting Rylan Charlton in a six round Super-Lightweight contest:

“I’m going to knock him out, flatten him. I’m a product of where I come from. But sometimes, at the weekends, it can be too comfortable to nip out and see my friends. I’m at a stage of my career where the fights will start getting harder. Lanzarote takes me out of my comfort zone.”I’m a passionate kid. If I box, fight or play scrabble I am a passionate kid. I’m going to flatten him. I’m throwing with intent to hurt. He’s training to knock me out, know what I mean? Once I get in the ring, it’s personal. Come Saturday I will show no respect whatsoever.

Rylan Charlton – Norwich, England – 5-0-1, 2 KOs – fighting Joe Laws in a six round Super-Lightweight contest

“He’s good at doing the talking, I’m good at doing the beating up. There isn’t much pressure on me. Joe is used to having a crowd behind him and there won’t be a crowd. All the pressure is on Joe! I’m going in there to do a job and this the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.”

Thomas Patrick Ward – West Rainton, England – 29-0, 4 KOs – fighting Thomas Essomba in a ten round Super-Bantamweight contest: 

“I’m ready to go. Obviously there was a change of opponent but our training regime doesn’t change at all. It doesn’t matter who we’re fighting, we train hard, give 100% and remain ready and focused. I’m ready to go on Saturday night. Every fight has to be won. It doesn’t matter what the calibre of the opponent is. I was supposed to fight Garcia who is ranked in the WBO. That would have pushed me on to get a World Title shot. We’re still pushing for them World Titles. I believe I’m ready to fight any of those World Champions. I believe I’ll beat any of them. I’m ready to take on the full division but we’ve got a fight on our hands on Saturday night.”

Thomas Essomba – Wolverhampton, England – 10-6, 4 KOs – fighting Thomas Patrick Ward in a ten round Super-Bantamweight contest: 

“First of all I want to say thank you for the opportunity. I fought as recently as August. I think that will help me in this fight. I didn’t expect to fight this soon after that. The notice they gave me was very short but I believe the camp I had for my last fight is going to help me for this fight. I will find the solution to win. Every fight is important for me. The opportunity to fight Tommy is a big one for me.”

Ellie Scotney – Catford, England – making her professional debut in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest with Bec Connolly:

“I’m just grateful to be given this opportunity in the circumstances. To be around those people in the gym, I’m learning outside of boxing. I’m trying to be a sponge to everything in that gym and I’m thankful to be there. In hindsight it seemed like a tough decision turning pro but I’ve never looked back once. My character and my boxing, it just wasn’t settling well there and I just didn’t love boxing like I use to. As soon as I made the decision to turn pro I fell in love with it again. I’m getting my journey started. As soon as I box on Saturday I’d like to be out again the next week! It’s a great time to be involved in women’s boxing. As soon as I get started I want to keep going.”

Bec Connolly – Swindon, England – 3-7 – fighting Ellie Scotney in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest:

“It’s quite exciting isn’t it. I didn’t think with all of this COVID stuff this year that I’d get to box at all. It’s a massive change on the management side of things, I’d been with Paddy for the best part of ten years. I’m with Mike in Malmesbury now with new management as well in Al Siesta. I can’t see small hall boxing coming back for a long time with this COVID stuff so it’s time to do the big shows. Experience is only good if you use it, and I plan on using it on Saturday. She’s not your typical debutant and I think people in boxing know that already. Ellie has got a lot of accolades behind her. Inactivity as a boxer is a killer. You want to be busy and you want to be out there. This is a great platform to be on and I’m just really grateful that it’s happening.”
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RITSON-VAZQUEZ CONFIRMED FOR OCTOBER 17

Marshall lands World Title shot against Rankin
Lewis Ritson will defend his WBA Inter-Continental Super-Lightweight Title against Mexico’s former long-reigning World Champion Miguel Vazquez on Saturday October 17, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.
 
Ritson (20-1, 12 KOs) was originally slated to face Vazquez (42-9, 16 KOs) on April 4 in Newcastle before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the sporting world on its head and the event was postponed until a later date. 
 
The Geordie favourite produced a career-best performance to beat bitter rival Robbie Davies Jr in an enthralling Fight of the Year candidate last time out in October to stay in line for a shot at the WBA Super-Lightweight crown. 
 
Vazquez previously held the IBF Lightweight World Title for four years, making six defences of the title in that time, before losing to Mickey Bey via a controversial split decision in Las Vegas, and will provide a tough test for 26-year-old Ritson. 
 
Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) meets Glasgow’s former World Champion Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title – she was originally down to face New Zealand’s WBO Light-Heavyweight ruler Geovana Peres before the pandemic hit. 
 
Also on the card, exciting Welterweight prospect Joe ‘Benwell Bomber’ Laws (9-0, 5 KOs) looks to progress to 10-0, 2016 Rio Olympian Qais Ashfaq (8-0, 3 KOs) returns in a Super-Bantamweight contest, Glasgow Bantamweight talent Kash Farooq (13-1, 6 KOs) makes his debut as a Matchroom fighter and West Rainton’s Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0, 4 KOs) resumes his World Title charge. 
 
“I’ve had no time off,” said Ritson. “I’ve been in the gym the full year training hard, staying ready and waiting for a date to be confirmed. Nothing has really changed and now it’s full steam ahead for October 17.
 
“If I bring my A game then I’ll be very hard to beat and that’s what I’m planning on doing. We know what Miguel Vazquez is all about, he’s going to be a real test for me. I’ve had top level sparring with the likes of Josh Taylor that has kept me fresh.
 
“Once I get the win on October 17 I’m going to have a week off and then get straight back in the gym. I want to fight again by the end of the year, hopefully Eddie can keep the big fights coming. I want to keep pushing towards that WBA World Title, that’s the main goal for me.”
 
“I’m so happy that I have a fight date set in stone,” said Marshall. “It’s been a while, but I’m excited to be back in the ring. Hannah Rankin is a former IBO World Champion, so I’m expecting a tough hard fight against her but it’s one that I’m really looking forward to it.
 
“It’s been a long road for me, so it would be incredible to become World Champion. It’s crazy to think I was meant to be fighting for a World Title in April at Light-Heavyweight and this is now at Middleweight, but that’s female boxing and you have to take these opportunities when they come.”
 
“This fight has been in the back of my mind since it was first talked about in February,” said Rankin. “I have proven time and time again I’m willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and that’s the foundation my career has been built on. 
 
“For this fight I’ll be stepping up to Middleweight and I’m relishing the chance to become a two-time two-weight World Champion having already held the IBO Super-Welterweight Title. 
 
“With regards to Savannah, I’m excited for my chance to end the hype; as a professional she’s yet to be tested. On October 17 I will be crowned WBO World Middleweight Champion and I’ll be bringing that title back to Scotland. Scotland vs. England is always a fun clash in any sport!”
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