12 x 3 mins IBF Super-Lightweight World Title Final Eliminator
(Forest Hall, England)  (Buenos Aires, Argentina)Lewis Ritson’s World Title hopes were wrecked by a punishing 10th-round stoppage loss to Jeremias Ponce at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.Ritson was floored on three occasions by the relentless Argentine, who became the IBF Mandatory Challenger for Scotland’s Undisputed World Super-Lightweight Champion Josh Taylor.”Thanks very much for wishing me well after my fight,” Ponce told Chris Lloyd. “It was a very tough fight, a lot tougher than I expected it to be. I expected a war with Ritson and he’s a tough fighter – tougher than I expected. 

“Yes I did think it was over in the first round – it was a great body shot that I hit him with. Any other boxer would have gone down.I hit him right on the button and it would have hurt him. He showed his toughness that he was able to recover from that. 

“It was a bit confusing when we were in the ring because I thought the fight was over as soon as I saw the towel come in. Then I saw the ref throw it out – to be honest it was a bit of a shock. He’s probably hurt in the rib area now and he wouldn’t have been if he stopped the fight when we saw the towel come in.

“It’s one step closer to my dream. It’s the dream that you always have as a fighter. I’m one step away from that now. Thank you very much, I’m sorry it didn’t turn out as your expected, but thank you very much.”

10 x 3 mins International Featherweight contest 
(West Rainton, England)                                                        (Culiacan, Mexico)Thomas Patrick Ward picked up the 30th win of his professional career, thanks to a stylish unanimous decision victory over Edy Valencia Mercado.Ward (30-0-1, 4 KOs) came out on top thanks to scorecards of 98-92, 98-92 and 97-93, seeing him get back in the win column following his technical draw with Thomas Essomba last October.“I hadn’t boxed for nearly a year before Essomba,” Ward told Sky Sports. “It was a bad year, and that wasn’t me on that night. We’re only humans and not machines, but tonight was a better night. It was a great fight for the fans, and I’m so happy to have them back. I really enjoyed it in there.“At Super-Bantamweight I had a great ranking with the WBO, IBF and WBC. This fight was at 128lbs, but I’ve been chasing Emanuel Navarrete for a while. “He’s a great fighter, and I got close to fighting him at Super-Bantamweight and thought I would have got my shot. We have both moved up now, and I want to fight him.”

6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest 
(Zagreb, Croatia)                      (Dukinfield, England)Alen Babic blasted aside Damian Chambers with a huge left hook as the Croatian Heavyweight contender added another knockout to his destructive record.’The Savage’ Babic produced a dramatic one-punch knockout of Chambers, sealing his seventh straight stoppage, as he returned to the ring following shoulder surgery.“The third time I’ve gone into the third round, but it’s good it’s only another half a minute probably,” Babic told Matchroom. “All kudos to Damian Chambers, I love him, he’s a very tough guy. I have the power to knock guys out who are 130 kilos, he was like 89 and took those shots. I thought, ‘what is this guy made of?’. I love Damian Chambers.
“That’s why I didn’t do any trash talk, the guy took a fight on six days’ notice against ‘The Savage’ and he saw my knockouts. I have nothing but respect for the guy, I’ll never disrespect guys like that.
“I saw the whole arena, they’re on my side, my heart is so full, I love Newcastle. I’m going to come back and drink brown ale tonight. I just feel so blessed to be here, I sense the synergy between Newcastle and me since day one. I’m so grateful.
“I want to involve the fans as much as I can in my fights, that’s why I do these kinds of things so they can participate.
“Yesterday I wrote a post on Facebook saying, I’m just waiting for a dream, this is all a big dream, seeing myself on big billboards, trending on Twitter. I can’t believe it, I’m a simple and humble guy so this is all just a pure blessing to me – every day and every minute.
“This fight gets me closer to that, when I get Matchroom in Croatia that is my goal. I’d give all my money from the tickets to the children so they can see the real sportsmanship. I really want that, and this is just one step closer to fulfilling my dream which is to involve people in boxing. I can’t just hold it to myself, that’s selfish.
“We were supposed to announce that fight (Nick Webb) for Fight Camp but of course we won’t do that people he b*tched out, he’s just a little b*tch. I have no respect for him no more, he avoided Fabio Wardley for three years, me for two, it’s getting silly – I must move on to bigger and better guys.
“Okolie is a great guy, a great champion, he’s done a lot more than I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to disrespect guys like that, he is my friend. I want to fight him. Of course, I do, for the title, he’s a f****ng beast. I would fight him and all of the Bridgerweights, Rivas, Hooker.
“I don’t care about belts; I just want a good fight for the fans. I want to bring stadiums to life, I want to bring energy, that’s my goal. Just give me whoever you want, don’t tell me who it is, I don’t care.”

6 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
(Alnwick, England)                             (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Cyrus Pattinson shined on his highly-anticipated professional debut – stopping Bulgaria’s Yoncho Markov in two rounds.

The former Team GB talent dropped Markov to the canvas twice before referee Victor Loughlin waved off the contest.

“I was really happy with my performance, it was a bit cagey early on, we knew he was eager – he’s been game as a badger all week,” Pattinson told Matchroom. “It was a bit unorthodox, stepping through his shots sometimes, couldn’t judge the distance but after the first round I started settling down. I told Graham in the corner that this was only going to go one way from there.
“I put my shots together well, I know that I dug them in – head and body. I was really happy with where we went in the second round.
“This was better than I ever could have imagined it, the support I got tonight was overwhelming, I didn’t realise it was going to be like that. I’ve always said that the atmosphere in Newcastle is second to none so what a way to start your debut.
“Last year we were lining up for the show and everything happened, so it got put on the back burner. A couple dates come up, they were elsewhere but we couldn’t get the medicals or licences through on time, when everything came together it was Newcastle and spectators were back – it was like someone was looking out for me.
“I want to be tested, I don’t want to be taking any backwards steps, I’m taking each fight as they come. I’m enjoying the ride and soaking it up because it’s soon over and you wish you were back in the moment.
“In the tunnel when everyone was chanting and my ring walk kicked in, I started getting hairs up on the back of my neck. I just remember Graham telling me to be calm, calculated and stay sharp. That got a bit cloudy first round, which it does, but take a bit from it – I’m happy.
“I feel like I’m a lot more suited for the professionals, certain shot selections are hard to get off in the amateurs – a lot of people are flighty and don’t hold their feet as much. I’m definitely more suited for this game.
“I’ve been over the moon for them (Team GB), I’ve been supporting them all last week and this week, I’ve been sharing all their stuff, messaging them, watching them, I’m just really happy – I know how hard they’ve worked. Especially the big man Frazer Clarke, he’s waited a long time, 11 years, I was really happy for him”.
6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
(Birmingham, England)                        (Cadiz, Spain)

Former Team GB standout Solomon Dacres took Alvaro Terrero out in four rounds to earn his first stoppage win in the pros and progress to 2-0. 

‘The Real Deal’ was taken the distance in his pro debut against Mladen Manev at Manchester Arena last month and was keen to earn his first win inside the distance in Newcastle. 

“I took my time the first couple of rounds, I got a few clean shots off but when I stepped up in the fourth and the ref jumped in it was fair because I was starting to land clean on him then,” Dacres told Matchroom.
“As a Heavyweight you want to get the knockouts, that’s getting my first one out the way and now hopefully many more to come.
“When you’re starting off in the game you need to keep yourself active and keep your face in the game as well – build your profile and all the other stuff that happens behind the fight.
“It was a mini three-week training camp from the last one but yeah at times I did sit down on a few instead of 4’s and 5’s. I was putting 2’s and 3’s together and trying to put a bit more venom behind them.
“They’ve (GB Boxing) had great success in the qualifiers, 11 boxers through, going to the games they’ve got a great chance of getting a whole heap of medals out there – they’ve got some quality boxers in the squad that I was a part of.
“I’ve got the platform, I’ve got Matchroom behind me and everything that comes with that. I’m putting the extremely hard graft in the gym so hopefully I keep my head down, keep progressing and get to where we want to get to.
“Getting a Heavyweight Champion from Birmingham would be absolutely huge, we’re a huge city and hopefully we can get a huge following behind myself and build my profile. Build myself in Birmingham, get the shows in Brum and get some great nights there.
“I say I’ll fight anybody and they [Solomon’s team] say okay we’ll just take it steady, that’s their job in the management. I’m just going to be there to fight anybody, put the work in and get ready.
“That sort of sparring [Joy Joyce] where the guys I’m sparring are ahead of the level of the competitors in the ring is important to keep improving, otherwise I wouldn’t get a taste of that higher level of boxing – that sparring is crucial.
“We’ll be looking to get a British Title, something along those lines, to kick start things and more to come.”

4 x 2 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
(Wallsend, England)                      (Budapest, Hungary)

April Hunter progressed to 4-0 with a comfortable points win over Hungary’s Klaudia Vigh in the first televised fight of the evening. 

The 26-year-old from Wallsend was bumped up to the televised segment of the show after Ellie Scotney’s opponent Vanesa Caballero test positive for COVID-19 – resulting in their fight being cancelled. 

‘The Hunter’ was fighting in her home city for the second time as a professional following a hard-fought win against Elsa Hemat in Barcelona – and sent her fans home happy with a 40-37 decision.

“I’m leaving feeling happy, the support is amazing,” Hunter told Matchroom. “I’m never going to be too happy; I’ll always be critiquing myself because I’m a baby in the game. 15 fights, that’s my fourth professional fight – I’m just learning the job. I think I dropped the ball a bit in the first round, she came swinging, I was just getting into it in the fourth and I think if I had six rounds, I would have stopped her.
“She [Savannah Marshall] was bang on, she told me she’d come for the first twenty seconds, and she did. 1000 fans, I haven’t boxed in front of fans for ages. My ring walk was electric, and I was all hyped up. My experience and all this stuff comes, staying calm and collected, couldn’t really hear my coaches voice through his mask – it was just one of them.
“Really proud moment for me, I don’t know what come over me, I wasn’t planning on coming out and singing like that, but I just felt it and went with it. None of that was planned.
“I’m sparring Savannah every Wednesday and Thursday, I’m learning every week, she can see the improvements and if she can see them then everybody can. I’m learning on the job, every single time.
“The fight game is all about taking it from the gym and putting it in the ring, it was little things in there tonight that I did wrong, probably lots, but there’s also things that we’ve worked on that I got off. I do believe if I had the six it would be a different story, but you live and you learn.
“Perfect time, women’s boxing is booming. Like you say, Savannah Marshall vs. Clarissa Shields is the biggest fight in women’s boxing if you ask me, after that fight the opportunities are going to be endless.”

6 x 3 mins Welterweight contest
(Benwell, England)                 (Plymouth, England)

‘The Benwell Bomber’ Joe Laws put the disappointment of his first defeat in the pro ranks behind him by widely outpointing Plymouth’s Chris Adaway 60-54 in the opening bout of the night at the Vertu Arena, Newcastle. 

Laws was sent crashing to the canvas three times in a third-round knockout loss at the hands of Rylan Charlton last October – but the 26-year-old Geordie favourite was in complete control as he made a winning return in front of his local support – taking every round on the referee’s scorecard. 

“I can see he hasn’t been stopped much, he’s tough,” Laws told Matchroom. “I’m glad to be back, knock the ring rust off. At times it felt good, at times it felt bad but I’ve been trying a lot since Christmas.
“I was 26 years of age, 9 fights, 9 wins, 5 knockouts, the best thing that could have happened to me is getting knocked out. I’ve signed with MTK, I’m rebuilding again, I’m starting from fresh. I’m never going to be a world beater, but I’ve got a big set of balls, a good heart, I train hard, and I know there’s good fights out there where I can pack arenas out and win belts.
“It felt great, I was never going to be at my peak, I got too heavy at Christmas but now I can build on this. I’ve signed with MTK and I’m starting afresh again. I’m young enough and I’ve got the best sponsors in the world who are going to support us, I’m not going to start calling out stupid names.
“I’ve got loads to learn, I learnt loads in the ring tonight but I’m willing to put in the hard work in through the years to get to where I want to be.
“Hopefully I can get 2/3 more fights, 2/3 more wins, step up the rounds to 8 and keep learning and improving.”
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6 x 3 mins Welterweight contest
JOE LAWS 10st 9lbs 3oz v CHRIS ADAWAY 10st 6lbs 0oz
(Benwell, England)              (Plymouth, England)

Followed by


4 x 2 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
APRIL HUNTER 10st 12lbs 4oz v KLAUDIA VIGH 10st 9lbs 5oz
(Wallsend, England)                      (Budapest, Hungary)

Followed by

6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
SOLOMON DACRES 16st 1lb 8oz v ALVARO TERRERO 15st 5lbs 10oz
(Birmingham, England)                    (Cadiz, Spain)

Followed by

6 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
CYRUS PATTINSON 10st 11lbs 5oz v YONCHO MARKOV 10st 12lbs 11oz
(Alnwick, England)                                (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Followed by

6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest 
ALEN BABIC 14st 13lbs 0oz v DAMIAM CHAMBERS 14st 2lbs 12oz
(Zagreb, Croatia)                       (Dukinfield, England)

Followed by

10 x 3 mins International Featherweight contest 
THOMAS PATRICK WARD 9st 2lbs 12oz v EDY VALENCIA MERCADO 9st 0lbs 13oz
(West Rainton, England)                              (Culiacan, Mexico)

Followed by

12 x 3 mins IBF Super-Lightweight World Title Final Eliminator
LEWIS RITSON 9st 13lbs 13oz v JEREMIAS PONCE 9st 13lbs 11oz
(Forest Hall, England)                   (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
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Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport:

“We’re back in Newcastle and what a place to return with fans. Although we only have 1,000 people in there on Saturday it will feel like the normal eight, nine or ten thousand we have up here. A massive moment in the career of Lewis Ritson against Jeremias Ponce in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title which will of course lead to a shot at the Undisputed Lightweight World Championship against Josh Taylor. This is a fight to position themselves as Mandatory to that belt. Live on Sky Sports and live on DAZN around the world. It’s a big card in Newcastle.”

Lewis Ritson – Forest Hall, England – 21-1, 12 KOs – fighting Jeremias Ponce in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title:

“Getting past Ponce is what every kid dreams of, I feel nice and relaxed and I can’t wat for Saturday in front of 1000 fans.
“I think being back with the fans we’ll see the best of Lewis Ritson, it’s the best and most relaxed I’ve felt for a good while. No fans in the bubble is a bit flat, but we’re expecting an explosive performance on Saturday.
“I’ve had about 11/12 fights for Matchroom, I feel like a bit of veteran, I’m already 27, but still young and fresh and not took much punishment. Now the time the apprenticeship is over, we’re ready for the big fights.
“I don’t think we’re going to have go looking for each other, I think it’s going to be a very hard fight – a tough night on Saturday night. But one I think we can get through.

Jeremias Ponce – Buenos Aires, Argentina – 27-0, 17 KOs – fighting Lewis Ritson in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title:

“Without doubt this is the biggest fight of my life.
“It’s going to be very entertaining fight; I’m going looking for the knockout. If that doesn’t happen so be it, but that’s the aim.
“It’ll be a dream for me personally, in Argentina we don’t have many champions, but it’ll be huge to get a shot at the World Title.” 

Thomas Patrick Ward – West Rainton, England – 29-0-1, 4 KOs – fighting Edy Valencia Mecado in a ten round Featherweight clash:

“Last time out wasn’t my best performance but this Saturday night you’re going to see a different Thomas Ward. It was a bad cut, but we got it stitched up, it healed up and we’re ready to go.
“Edy’s a good fighter, the Mexican’s come and give it all they’ve got. I’m definitely looking to put on a good show, a good statement, move forward and smash up some of these World Champions that don’t want to fight.
“I’m not looking past Saturday night; I’ve got a tough opponent in front of me who’s going to be coming and giving it his all. I’ve been rated quite highly for quite some time; I’m pushing on for those World Title fights. I want to fight them; do they want to fight me? Let’s see, let’s get it on.” 

Edy Valencia Mecado – Culiacan, Mexico – 17-5-6, 5 KOs – fighting Thomas Patrick Ward in a ten round Featherweight clash: 
“It’s a very proud moment for me to be coming here and I really do want to add to that list of Mexican’s that have caused an upset here. It’s a proud moment to be alongside you Eddie and my rival. I think for the fight I have the tools and mentality to be able to make this work, I think the only winner in this fight are the people watching.
“Hopefully, finally everyone can enjoy a good show. Mexican fighters come on the front foot and trade. I’ll wait to see what happens in the fight, I’m able to adapt my style, I have many different styles I can accommodate. Hopefully we can look forward to a great fight on Saturday night.”

Alen Babic – Zagreb, Croatia – 6-0, 6 KOs – fighting Damian Chambers in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“I feel blessed every time I’m here. The surgery was bad, I didn’t want to say it to myself, but I knew it was going to go down because that shoulder had been bad for the whole of the last year. I was talking to my inner self just hold on for a few more fights. I’ve done that now and my hand is feeling stronger than ever, I’m finally 150% back.
“I did some things with the recovery which were different, I’ve been sending savage to my shoulder to recover it. I’ve been doing things differently, they told me I’d be out for ten months, and I was back in two months. I’m so much better than before and I’m going to show it.
“I want to be a fighter in three weights, Cruiserweight, Bridgerweight and Heavyweight. I don’t care about the weight, that doesn’t been I don’t want to fight other weights, it means I don’t care where I’m fighting. My heart will always be in Heavyweight, but I can fight Light-Heavyweight if you make me angry enough. I don’t care about weights; I want to fight.
“They offered me so many tournaments and I said no I don’t want someone who’s going to fall because they know they can’t beat me. This is a guy [Chambers] who has a lot of knockouts, 11-1, he’s a very good guy. It’s going to be tremendous battle and I think it’s going to over inside 1-2. He’s a puncher but not much of a mover, this guy may be faster or stronger, I don’t know but we’re going to find out.”

Damian Chambers – Dukinfield, England – 11-1, 7 KOs – fighting Alen Babic in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“I know it’s going to be a tough night’s work; I’ve watched him before on shows and he is a tough fighter, he comes forward just throwing punches. We got the call on Sunday, by coach said we’ve got a fight do you want to take it it’s against Babic, he’s a tough guy I’ve watched before. He’s a Heavweight and I’m usually at Cruiserweight, he’s got the advantage but straight away I said I think it’s a good opportunity for me to showcase my skills.
“I can’t wait, I’ve been in the gym anyway training, over the last six days I’ve been in the gym training – sparring Monday and Tuesday. I had a tough session yesterday, we had a fight coming up anyway at the end of July, I’ve not fought in 16 months so we might as well take the fight. It’s not an easy fight, he’s a tough man, I’m going to have to be on my A game and make no mistakes.” 

Cyrus Pattinson – Alnwick, England – Professional Debut – fighting Yoncho Markov in a six round Super-Welterweight contest:

“It’s an amazing feeling, we’re finally here, we’ve been waiting for a year now with the COVID situation. I was devastated with COVID kicked in because that opportunity to make my debut in Newcastle last time out was taken away. It feels like the stars have aligned and we’re back here in Newcastle and the debut is still on.
“The experience is second to none, all those times turning up to competitions and fighting these world ranked opponents and Olympic medallists. You can’t get that experience elsewhere in the world, obviously the training camps you’ve got to factor in as well. Going to Kazakhstan and sparring six rounds with fresh opponents, it’s matures you as a person and excels you experience as well.
“It’s something that we’ve both discussed before the debut came about, we didn’t really want to take the four round fights which a lot of boxers usually take, usually with an opponent with a losing record. Instead, we wanted someone over six rounds, winning record, who’s going to bring the fight to us – that’s something I’m used to. I think that’s going to show the best out of me. I’m a humble person, I think that people can expect a good night and a good performance.”

Solomon Dacres – Birmingham, England – 1-0 – fighting Alvaro Terrero in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“I hadn’t even got my clothes off from the last one and you [Eddie] were asking me for the next one. I took it, I’m ready and it’s good to get out pretty quickly again.
“That’s what boxing is about, I’m looking to progress to the highest level of the game, so I don’t want any easy touches. I want to be proven and having good fights I can learn from.
“I’ve said in the next twelve to eighteen months I want to be looking at British Title level and then pushing on. It’s a quick projection but I feel like I’m there technically and boxing wise – I just need the experience. All I need to do is get the fights under my belt and I’ll be ready to go at the higher levels. But on Saturday I’ve got to get through Alvaro.”
Alvaro Terrero – Cadiz, Spain – 5-11-2, 3 KOs – fighting Solomon Dacres in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“I’m delighted to be here.”
“Yes, I see him [Solomon] as a great opponent.” 

Joe Laws – Benwell, England – 9-1, 5 KOs – fighting Chris Adaway in a six round Welterweight contest:

“I cannot wait. Chris Adaway, I know him personally, I’ve seen fight loads and he’s a game competitor. He’s as game as they come, he never gets soft, he goes in there and gives all his prospects one hell of a go. I’m feeling good myself, I’m back in the best city in the world, I can’t wait to go out there, put a show on and get back to winning ways.
“I’ve learnt not to block shots with my forehead. No, what I’ve learnt is that I do want to box. Last Christmas I asked myself questions of do I want this, but I do. Here I am, come Saturday night I can’t wait to go out there. I might be nervous, but the crowds are back, but that nervous energy is what feeds me.
“I got some stick about losing, but that’s just social media. It was a low point at Christmas but I’m a man, I picked myself up and I’m back. Mentally and physically, I feel great, I’m 26-years-old. I’m a young pup in this sport. The past 18 months have been hard for boxing but come Saturday it’ll be a clip of what’s to come. The show will be electric.” 

April Hunter – Wallsend, England – 3-0 – fighting Klaudia Vigh in a four round Welterweight contest:

“I’m thrilled to be back, I’m home with my people, my city. I can’t wait to have a great performance Saturday night.
“Strictly boxing Saturday night, I’m not going to get carried away. I’m going to show my skill, we’ll see Saturday night.
“I think the pool of boxing is going to keep expanded. The next 18 months is pivotal for me, I’ve had Rick Ramos calling fights out that I’m interested in. I’ve got my eye more on Jessica, but if that’s the fight I’ve got to go through to get to her then I’ll be happy to do it.”

Klaudia Vigh – Budapest, Hungary – 32-27-1, 2 KOs – fighting April Hunter in a four round Welterweight contest:

“It’s a big chance and I’m very motivated. I like to box in the UK every time, it’s not my first time here. I’m waiting for Saturday night.”
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Ponce plots Ritson’s Downfall to Secure a “Dream” World Title Shot Against Taylor

Jeremias Ponce says he will look to secure a “dream” World Title fight with Undisputed Super-Lightweight king Josh Taylor but knocking out Geordie favourite Lewis Ritson in front of his home crowd at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle this Saturday, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.

‘Jere’ arrives in the UK for the first time sporting an impressive record of 27 wins and no losses – with 17 of those win coming by way of knockout – and has two notable wins ‘on the road’ against Rico Mueller for the IBO World Title in Germany and Francesco Lomasto for the IBF Intercontinental Title in Italy. 

The undefeated 24-year-old from from Buenos Aires, Argentina says the return of Ritson’s fanatical Newcastle support will only serve to spur him on as he looks to become the latest South American to spring an upset against a Brit.

“I go all out for the win,” said Ponce. “I try and leave nothing to chance. I always look for the knockout. This is a huge opportunity for me, if not the biggest in my career. I’ve trained with that mindset, thinking about this being the biggest moment in my career. 

“I think it’s a dream for any boxer to go on and win a World Title, and to face a fighter like Josh Taylor would be a dream come true. I’m 100% confident that I can add myself to the list of South Americans that have caused upsets in the UK. I’m going to go all out to win. 

“I think Lewis Ritson is a very good boxer. He’s very quick and he has a very high output. We’ve worked hard looking for ways to counter that. I think we’ll be able to do that. Both styles will definitely clash which will mean it will be a great fight.

“I think the Miguel Vazquez fight was just a really bad night for him. I have also had bad nights before. I don’t think it takes anything away from him. I think he’s still a really good boxer and it will be a very tough night for the both of us. 

“Having a crowd in the arena will motivate me even more. I’m used to these types of fights and being the away fighter. I’ve been the away fighter in Germany when the whole of the crowd was against me. I was the away fighter in Naples, Italy when all the fans were against me. I’m used to that and it really will spur me on even more.”

Ritson vs. Ponce tops a big night of action in Newcastle as fans return in the North East, West Rainton’s Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0-1, 4 KOs) takes on Mexico’s Edy Valencia Mercado (17-5-6, 5 KOs) in a ten round Featherweight clash, Former Team GB standout Cyrus Pattinson makes his professional debut in a six round Super-Welterweight clash with Bulgaria’s Yoncho Markov (4-2, 2 KOs), Croatian Heavyweight sensation Alen Babic (6-0, 6 KOs) returns to action against Damian Chambers (11-1, 7 KOs) following a shoulder injury, Catford Super-Bantamweight Ellie Scotney (2-0) meets Spain’s Vanesa Caballero (4-9-3) over eight rounds, Birmingham Heavyweight Solomon Dacres (1-0) clashes with Spain’s Alvaro Terrero (5-11-2, 3 KOs) over six rounds, Benwell Welterweight Joe Laws (9-1, 5 KOs) fights Chris Adaway (10-69-4, 1 KO) over six rounds and Wallsend Welterweight April Hunter (3-0) meets Hungary’s Klaudia Vigh (3-27-1, 2 KOs).
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‘The Sandman’ meets Ponce in IBF Final Eliminator
Lewis Ritson says the return of fans will help push him on to a vital win when he meets undefeated Argentinian Jeremias Ponce in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle on Saturday June 12, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.

‘The Sandman’ (21-1, 12 KOs) struggled without the backing of his fanatical Geordie support last time out as he battled to a controversial split decision win against Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez behind closed doors at the East of England Arena in Peterborough – an experience the 27-year-old says he has learnt from.

“I haven’t really watched it back but a couple of days later I went to my dad’s house and asked him if he’d watched the fight,” Ritson recalled. “He said yes, and I asked him to be truthful about what he thought of it. He was honest and said we got the rub of the green, we got very lucky and we got gifted a decision, but that it is up to me whether to dwell on it or improve on it. 

“That’s what we’ve done, we’ve gone away and made a few changes in camp. It was just a clash of styles. I think I was probably Vazquez’ best performance in a few years and it was one of my worst to be fair. You live and you learn, there was maybe a few things that we could have done differently in that fight. We know that now and we’ve got the experience in the bank.”

Ritson made the decision to part ways with Neill Fannan and return home to Forest Hall to train with his father Dave following the disappointment of the Vazquez performance – a move that he is confident will turn out to be the right one as he closes in on a dream World Title shot in the 140lbs division. 

“I’m back with my old man. I had a little bit of thinking to do after my last fight. I half hinted that I wanted to come home, and my dad half hinted that he wanted to be back training me. It was the right move for me and we’ve been flying in camp. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, it’s probably the first time in a while that I’ve been quite happy.

“I’ve got a little girl and I was sick of being away from her in the end. I was down there stuck in a flat, training twice a day and then nothing else to do, especially with the lockdown. I could have been back home with my little girl. I’ve got another little girl on the way so that definitely played a part in it. I can’t wait for fight night now and to show people that the Vazquez fight was a bit of a slip up. I’m going to be back better and stronger.”

In his last fight in front of his Newcastle faithful, Ritson produced a career-best performance to beat bitter rival Robbie Davies Jr in an enthralling Fight of the Year candidate. A fight with the newly-crowned Undisputed Super-Lightweight ruler Josh Taylor could await Ritson if he earns another memorable win this weekend. 

“It’s just a buzz to be back, especially with the crowds. Even with 1,000 in there, the place will be jumping for the ring walk. That’s what I need to get me up for these fights. I can’t wait for the fans to be back shouting and cheering. Before the Vazquez fight I was saying that it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but you actually don’t really know that until you get in there. I missed my fans massively, so I’m glad that they’ll be back. They’ll give me that extra push. 

“I’m fully focused on Ponce. We’ve got to make sure that we beat him and beat him well. We know what he’s coming to do and he’s coming to win. He’s coming to have a go. Stylistically he’s a bit like me – good jab, throws to the body and stands in front of you. If it goes like we think, then it’s going to be a very crowd-pleasing fight and a hard night.

“He could be one of those undiscovered gems out of Argentina. We’re not taking him lightly, we’ve seen the South Americans come over, one beat my mate Robbie, there’s a few that have upset the applecart, so we’ve got to make sure that we’re on the ball and it doesn’t happen to us. 

“I’m only 27 but I feel like I’m a bit of a veteran now, I’ve had like 12 fights on Sky and with Matchroom. I’m still young and I’m still fresh. I haven’t really taken any punishment and I’ve still got a lot to give. The journey is still young – win this next fight and then hopefully the next fight after that will be what every young boy dreams of. 

“If you’d have told me I’d be fighting for a World Title one day at the start of my career, I wouldn’t have believed you. We’re in a very good place and we’re one win away. We’ve grown into the weight now. For a while I was up at Light-Welter but still in a Lightweight’s body. Now I’m a fully-fledged Light-Welter. I’m bang on 10 stone, fit and strong. You’re going to see a bit more explosiveness in the punches.”

Ritson vs. Ponce tops a big night of action in Newcastle as fans return in the North East, West Rainton’s Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0-1, 4 KOs) takes on Mexico’s Edy Valencia Mercado (17-5-6, 5 KOs) in a ten round Featherweight clash, Former Team GB standout Cyrus Pattinson makes his professional debut in a six round Super-Welterweight clash with Bulgaria’s Yoncho Markov (4-2, 2 KOs)Croatian Heavyweight sensation Alen Babic (6-0, 6 KOs) returns to action following a shoulder injury, Catford Super-BantamweightEllie Scotney (2-0) meets Spain’s Vanesa Caballero (4-9-3) over eight rounds, Birmingham Heavyweight Solomon Dacres (1-0) clashes with Spain’s Alvaro Terrero (5-11-2, 3 KOs) over six rounds, Benwell Welterweight Joe Laws (9-1, 5 KOs) fights Nestor Maradiaga (9-10-2, 5 KOs) over six rounds and Wallsend Welterweight April Hunter (3-0) meets Hungary’s Klaudia Vigh (3-27-1, 2 KOs).
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‘The Sandman’ returns on June 12
Lewis Ritson will face Jeremias Ponce in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle on Saturday June 12, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.
‘The Sandman’ won a controversial split decision against Miguel Vazquez behind closed doors at the East of England Arena in Peterborough last time out in October to claim the vacant WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title and improve his record to 21-1 (12 KOs).
In his last fight in front of his Newcastle faithful, Ritson produced a career-best performance to beat bitter rival Robbie Davies Jr in an enthralling Fight of the Year candidate, and the 27-year-old says he can’t wait to get back in front of his fanatical support against undefeated Argentinian Ponce.  
The 24-year-old, from Buenos Aires, won the South American Title in 2019 by outpointing fellow Argentine Leonardo Amitrano, and became IBO Champion later that year with a points win in Berlin over Germany’s Rico Muller on his debut outside the Americas.
He boxed twice in late 2020, both all-Argentinian confrontations, firstly stopping Ruben Lopez in 90 seconds before being pushed all the way by southpaw Jonathan Eniz over 10 tough rounds, and heads into his showdown with Geordie favourite Ritson on the back of a 27-fight winning streak. 
“It was a strange experience behind closed doors last time so I’m thrilled fans will be returning, it’s always loud in Newcastle and I’m proud to have them behind me cheering me on,” said Ritson

“Ponce likes to come forward, throw a few good body shots and he’s got a decent jab. We’re expecting and have prepared for a tough fight and it should be given what’s at stake.

“I’m one or two fights away from being World Champion now, that’s the dream for any boxer and to be in touching distance now is spurring me on with this Final Eliminator locked in.”

“I’m really looking forward to the fight,” said Ponce. “I’ve already become World Champion in Europe when I won the IBO crown against Rico Mueller and after my win against Ritson on June 12 I am aiming to win another World Title. I’m ready to box anyone in my weight class.”

“This is a huge fight for Lewis Ritson, he is one fight away from a shot at the undisputed championship,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “We should be having the full 9,000 in Newcastle but right now 1,000 is going to feel like a full house and I can’t wait to see the fans again in Newcastle – I expect this main event to be a war.”

A limited number of tickets will be made available for this event and further details will be released on Thursday May 27.
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