Ritson headlines the big night of boxing at the Utilita Arena, which also sees stand-out amateur Pat McCormack make his highly anticipated professional debut, and the atmosphere as the local hero hit the scales was a taste of what is to come on Friday.

McCormack, who faces a late change of opponent, features as the co-main event with Troy Williamson defending his British super-welterweight title on a packed card.

UK fight fans can watch the action live on Eurosport’s linear channels, discovery+ and Eurosport App, with the fights also being shown around the world.

The broadcast is due to start at 9pm local time.



10 Rounds Super-lightweight contest

Lewis Ritson (22-2) 10st

Dejan Zlaticanin (24-3) 9st 13lbs



6 Rounds Welterweight contest

Pat McCormack (debut) (weighs in tomorrow)

Justin Menzie (5-5-1) (weighs in tomorrow)



Troy Williamson (17-0-1) 11st

Mason Cartwright (17-2-1) 10st 13lbs 12oz


6 Rounds Super-middleweight contest

Mark Dickinson (2-0) 11st 8lbs

Peter Kramer (11-4-3) 11st 6lbs


10 Rounds Featherweight contest

Thomas Patrick Ward (31-0-1) 9st 3lbs

Alexis Boureima Kabore (28-5) 8st 13lbs


6 Rounds Light-heavyweight contest

Ben Rees (debut) (weighs in tomorrow)

Greg O’Neill (6-6) (weighs in tomorrow)


6 Rounds Welterweight contest

Joe Laws (12-1) 11st 11lbs

Alexey Tukhtarov (4-27-6) 10st 13lbs


6 Rounds Cruisweight contest

Robert Ismay (10-0) (weighs in tomorrow)

Christian Adjoufack (0-7) (weighs in tomorrow)


6 Rounds Super-flyweight contest

Joe Maphosa (11-1) 8st 5lbs

Santiago el Eusibio (3-3-2) 8st 4lbs


4 Rounds Cruiserweight

Stephen Sayer (debut) 13st 8lbs

Daryl Sharp (6-85-1) 13st 12lbs


4 Rounds Super-welterweight contest

Alex Farrell (6-0) (weighs in tomorrow)

Konstantin Alexandrov (10-53-4) (weighs in tomorrow)


4 Rounds Lightweight contest

Adam Cope (3-0) (weighs in tomorrow)

Jonny Phillips (5-9) (weighs in tomorrow)

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Global boxing promotion Probellum will host its first UK show of 2022 in Newcastle in March, jointly headlined by local fighters Lewis Ritson, Troy Williamson and Thomas Patrick Ward, with the hugely talented duo Pat McCormack and Ben Rees set to make their professional debuts.
Taking place at the Utilita Arena, on Friday March 25, Probellum returns to the north-east following its sell out inaugural UK show in Sunderland in December.
The upcoming event features some of British boxing’s biggest and brightest talents, with tickets available to purchase via Ticketmaster from today (Friday January 28).
Newcastle-born Ritson (22-2, 13 knockouts) will be back in action after defeating Christian Uruzquieta with a brilliant performance in December. This time around he faces Dejan Zlaticanin (24-3, 16 knockouts), an experienced Serbian fighter.
Having signed to Probellum last month, Williamson (17-0-1, 13 knockouts), from Darlington, aims to maintain his unbeaten record in what will be the first defence of his British super-welterweight title, which he secured courtesy of an eye-catching knockout victory over British fighter Ted Cheeseman in October 2021.
The undefeated Ward (31-0-1, 4 knockouts), from County Durham, produced a dominant display against Venezuelan Leonardo Padilla in his most recent contest to move one step closer to a deserved world title shot.
The event will also see McCormack and Rees, both local fighters who recently signed to Probellum, make their hotly anticipated professional debuts following brilliant careers at amateur level, with McCormack winning a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Rees a five-time national champion.
Fellow Probellum fighter and rising star Dickinson (2-0, 1 knockout) will be looking to build on an impressive start to his professional career under the guidance of world-leading coach Ben Davison when he returns to the ring at the Utilita Arena.

Speaking about the event Richard Schaefer, President of Probellum, who has promoted some of the biggest names in world boxing including Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather, said:

“We are extremely pleased to be bringing our first UK show of the year to Newcastle, a city which boasts a huge passion for boxing, and home to many of Probellum’s most promising young fighters.
“December’s show in Sunderland was a big success, with a brilliant atmosphere, and we are really looking forward to returning to the north-east in March.
“As always, the card is packed full of talent with Troy Williamson joining a host of talented local fighters, including the likes of Lewis Ritson and Mark Dickinson, for what promises to be a fantastic night of boxing.”

Tickets, which go on sale today (Friday January 28), can be purchased via Ticketmaster.

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Lewis Ritson returned to winning ways in style as he defeated Christian Uruzquieta at Probellum Unstoppable on Saturday.

Probellum’s inaugural show in the UK was held in association with Phil Jeffries at the Rainton Arena in Sunderland, and featured a number of extremely entertaining battles.

Along with Ritson’s victory, there were wins for the likes of Thomas Patrick Ward, Ricky Burns, Mark Dickinson and more, on an evening which also saw Probellum unveil two new signings, undefeated British super-welterweight champion Troy Williamson, and five-time amateur national champion Ben Rees. Please find the full list of results and quotes below.


Lewis Ritson claimed a fantastic stoppage victory on his return to the ring as he came out on top against Christian Uruzquieta.

Ritson (22-2, 12 knockouts) shone from start to finish in the fight, with the big moment coming in round nine, where a fantastic flurry of punches sent Uruzquieta tumbling to the floor.

The Mexican managed to get up and see out the round, but with more punishment potentially looming, the corner decided to pull their man out, giving Ritson a great win inside the distance.

“I tried to add little things in the gym that I’ve been working on, and we were working well off the jab,” said Ritson“I tried fighting when I didn’t need to, but we got the win and I want the big names now.

“I was fully focused and broke him down after four or so rounds, so I’m happy with the performance. I’ve added a few more strings to the bow, and with Probellum we’re going to be a big force up here for the next few years. I’m ready to rock and roll.”

THOMAS PATRICK WARD def. LEONARDO PADILLA via UD after 10 rounds (100-90, 100-90, 98-92)

Thomas Patrick Ward put in yet another vintage performance as he dominated proceedings against Leonardo Padilla.

Ward (31-0-1, 4 knockouts) was a level above Padilla, constantly beating his opponent to the key shots and doing damage with his quick attacks.

There was only one outcome when the final bell tolled, with Ward getting his hand raised and moving one step closer to another world title shot.

RICKY BURNS def. EMILIANO DOMINGUEZ RODRIGUEZ via UD after 10 rounds (100-91, 99-91, 98-92)

Ricky Burns marked his long-awaited return with a win as he overcame Emiliano Dominguez Rodriguez by unanimous decision.

it was the first time Burns (44-8-1, 16 knockouts) was back in action since October 2019, and the three-weight world champion received a tremendous reception from the fans in attendance.

It was a vintage performance from the Scotsman, once again showing the wide array of tools he has at his disposal, with the three judges eventually scoring it 100-91, 99-91 and 98-92 in his favour as he returned to winning ways.

MARK DICKINSON def. MICHAL GAZDIK 60-54 on PTS after 6 rounds

Mark Dickinson displayed his superb boxing ability as he gained six valuable rounds with a points win over Michal Gazdik.

Dickinson (2-0, 1 knockout) made an instant impact in the paid ranks with a 30 second knockout win during his debut in October, but he showed his other skills on this occasion, getting behind the jab and utilising all of his assets in the performance against Gazdik.

It was a one-sided effort from the talented prospect, with the referee scoring every round to Dickinson as he successfully triumphed.

“I didn’t go in there looking for the stoppage. I was in there with a light-heavyweight purposely to get the rounds,” said Dickinson. “I know I need those rounds to push me further in my career. It’s six rounds in the bag and then 2022 will be a big year.

“I had to mix up the power in the shots, and use my skill and my boxing brain. I know I’ve got one of the best brains in the sport, and I controlled every minute of every round of that fight.”

JOSEPH LAWS def. SEAMUS DEVLIN 60-55 on points after 6 rounds

The always-exciting Joseph Laws closed the show in his usual entertaining way as he beat Seamus Devlin.

There had already been a lot of drama outside of the ring for Laws (12-1, 5 knockouts), after his original opponent pulled out of the fight on weigh-in day, with Devlin stepping in on 24 hours’ notice.

Laws dictated proceedings, and the referee scored it 60-55 in favour of the Benwell Bomber as he made it two wins in a month.

“After the pandemic I had a bad year, and now I want to show people I’m a 12 round fighter. I’m not just a party trick,” said Laws. “I felt as the rounds went on I got better. Round six was probably my best round.

“Seamus is as tough as they come but I feel like I was working my way into the fight more. I want learning fights and I want to show I can do the rounds. I feel I’ve come on a lot and I need to give my coaches a big thank you.”


MARK MCKEOWN def. URIEL LOPEZ 59-56 on PTS after 6 rounds

Mark McKeown and Uriel Lopez were involved in a sensational back and forth battle, with McKeown coming out on top.

McKeown (5-0, 2 knockouts) started the fight extremely quickly, pushing the pace from the very first bell, but Lopez gave as good as he got, coming back with success of his own.

It was Scottish star McKeown who got the better of the exchanges, but it remained a toe to toe war throughout, with the fans in attendance on their feet at the end of the contest to applaud both men, as McKeown claimed the great victory.

“That’s the kind of fight I’ve been wanting. I loved every second of it,” said McKeown. At times I took too long to get behind my jab and I could have made it easier for myself, but I was landing good shots and so was he.

“My coach will tell you that I love a fight, but when it gets tough I bite down on my gumshield. I’m born like this, it’s something inside of me, you don’t need to look for it. I just dig in and get it done.”

ADAM COPE def. RUSTEM FATKHULLIN 40-35 on PTS after 4 rounds

Adam Cope continued his resurgence as he dropped Rustem Fatkhullin on his way to a comfortable points victory.

Cope (3-0) was competing for the second time in a month, having not boxed since 2017 before that, but he looked as fresh as ever, utilising his skills well and dropping Fatkhullin with a beautiful body shot in round two.

The Russian got to his feet and managed to see out the remainder of the fight, but there was only one winner, with Cope getting his hand raised and claiming the 40-35 points verdict.

“He knows how to survive. It was good to box a bit better, and I’ll always try and be better each fight,” said Cope. “I’ll look back at the fight and see what I’ve done, and then improve again.

“I was looking for the body shots in the fight, and I was trying to switch my feet and come through the middle. He was a tricky customer, and I know when I get to super-featherweight they won’t be able to take my shots.

“My support is always the loudest, it doesn’t matter where you put them. They didn’t disappoint, and thanks to everyone for coming so close to Christmas, it really means a lot to me.”


Ewan MacKenzie had a short night’s work as his fight with Qasim Hussain came to an early end after Hussain cited a shoulder injury at the end of round one.

It was all Mackenzie (3-0, 1 knockout) in the opening round, landing a number of good shots, but as Hussain went back into his corner at the end of the round, it soon became clear the action wouldn’t continue.

He told the referee he had suffered a shoulder injury, meaning that Mackenzie earned the stoppage win and extended his unbeaten record.

“It’s a bit frustrating. I was trying to break him down, but he says he’s got a shoulder injury,” said Mackenzie. “I was trying to work through a tight guard, but I need something back so I can set up the shot.

“I want a big year next year so I can stay active. I’ve been active over the last few months with some back to back camps, and I want it to pay off. I’ll be straight back in training, and it’s full steam ahead.”


Alex Farrell kicked off the show in style as he won an entertaining battle against experienced Ivica Gogosevic.

Farrell (6-0, 3 knockouts) was on the front foot from the offset, landing huge shot after huge shot, with Gogosevic eventually hitting the canvas in round two.

The Croatian got back to his feet, but another massive shot soon followed that knocked him down again, with the referee waving it off to earn Farrell the win.

“It’s more difficult when they’re a rough fighter, sometimes it’s easier to box a technical boxer than a rough guy, so I had to stay composed and see my openings,” said Farrell. “I take every fight as a learning curve and I want to learn in every fight.

“Everybody wants to be world champion, but for me I don’t care how long it will take or what it will take. I have to go through a lot to be a world champion. Thanks to all of the people in Greece, and all of the people in the UK for supporting me.”

For live news and updates, be sure to follow Probellum on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

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The action-packed card is in association with promoter Phil Jeffries, and sees local hero Lewis Ritson meet Christian Uruzquieta, three-weight world champion Ricky Burns take on Emiliano Dominguez, unbeaten Thomas Patrick Ward face Leonardo Padilla, plus Mark Dickinson, Joe Laws, Joe Maphosa, Adam Cope, Mark McKeown, Alex Farrell, Jordan Flynn and Ewan Mackenzie are all in action.

It will be shown live on Free Sports, BoxNation and Premier Sports in the UK, on Fight Network in the USA and Canada, plus more networks worldwide. Here’s what all the boxers had to say at today’s final press conference:

Ritson: “It was a massive setback in my last fight. It wasn’t the best of performances, but I’ll make that right on Saturday. I’ll get a good win and then we’ll get people talking about me again and the dream can stay alive.

“A lot of the fighters in the North East have fought at the Rainton Arena in their careers, and we’ll get plenty of fans in there and create plenty of noise. It’s going to be a good night.

“I’ll wait and see what Uruzquieta comes with and brings. We know he can box and fight a bit, but we’ve got a plan for what to do on the night.

“I’ve heard what Probellum’s next plan is, so I need to make sure I can get through Saturday and then get people talking about me again.”

Uruzquieta: “I’m very happy to be here. I want to thank God, Probellum and Miura Boxing. I’m happy to come back to Europe and this will be a fight that I will win.

“I’m a Mexican warrior, and I don’t know if I will win by points or knockout, but it will be a great fight and I will definitely win.”

Ward: “My opponent is a good fighter, and I’m looking forward to Saturday. I’ve been knocking on the door for a world title for a long time. I was one of the best super-bantamweights, but my shot never come, now I’m pushing on at featherweight.

“There are a lot of good guys there who I’d love to fight. Both me and my opponent on Saturday are ranked high with the WBA, and this is a fight that will push us closer to a shot at that title. Leo Santa Cruz still holds the Super title, and then you have Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan fighting next year too.

“There’s Emanuel Navarrete who I was chasing down at super-bantamweight and not many wanted to fight him. It seems to be the same for him at featherweight, but that’s a fight that I still want. I’ve got to get through Saturday and then we’ll see where I go.

“At super-bantamweight it was getting too hard to make the weight, and my best performances wouldn’t have come from me at that weight. It was time to move up, and now this is a really good division to be in.

“I want titles, so whoever has them is who I want to fight. Just send the contract over. I’ll travel to you and you can choose where you want to fight and you can pick what gloves, it doesn’t make a difference for me.

“You can expect a good performance from me on Saturday. The fans are the real winners, as Probellum are putting on this great show. Look at the talent you’ve got here, so thanks to them for this event.”

Padilla: “First of all I want to thank God. This is a fight that can lead to something big for me, and this is a great chance for me to be on the big stage, so it’s good for my career. I’ve got a good team with me, and I’m here to win. I’ve fought better rivals than Ward, and soon you’ll be hearing ‘and the new’ after this fight.”

Burns: “I’m looking forward to being back. I never say no to any opponent, and whatever names they give to me that’s who I’ll get in there with. This is my first fight back in two years, and in that two years there have been a lot of fights spoken about and a few dates that have fallen through.

“I’ve teamed up with new trainers and I’m training alongside Mark McKeown now, so I’m excited to put on a good show. After each fight I’m straight back in the gym, as boxing is one of those sports where if you don’t enjoy it, it’s too hard.

“I always drag myself out of bed at 6:30am to do the track work, and if I wasn’t good enough I’d be the first one who knows it’s time to call it a day. I was in a bad place after the Lee Selby fight, it was close but I thought I’d done enough to win.

“In the build up everybody just kept going on about my age and when I would retire. I was thinking ‘you do know I’m fighting on Saturday don’t you?’ It felt like I was being forced out, but thanks to Probellum for making this happen, and we’ll get down to business on Saturday.

Dickinson: “I want to start off by saying a big thank you to Probellum for this opportunity so quickly after my debut. My debut wasn’t broadcast on TV, so this time it’s going to be good to be shown properly as a fight in front of my home fans.”

Laws: “After the loss against Rylan Charlton, I went back to the drawing board and straight back into the gym and asked myself a lot of questions.

“I’m enjoying the ride and I’m training hard, and I hope that on Saturday I can perform exactly like I have been doing in the gym.”

McKeown“I can’t wait to get in there on Saturday and showcase what I’ve got. Big thanks to Probellum for giving me the opportunity to be on a card as big as this, and I won’t disappoint.”

Promoter Phil Jeffies: “It’s great that Probellum is coming to the North East, especially with the likes of Lewis and Tommy. This show will be a sellout, and it will be rocking inside the Rainton Arena.

“The fans in the North East know how to make an atmosphere, and it will be great to have them all in here. I’m chuffed to be working with Probellum. They know how to treat the boxers, and we’re going to push boxing in the North East.”

For images, please view HERE. 

For live news and updates, be sure to follow Probellum on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

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Probellum is proud to announce a promotional deal with former British and WBA Intercontinental champion Lewis Ritson.

Newcastle superstar Ritson (21-2, 12 knockouts) is known for his all-action, relentless style, having been involved in some of the most exciting fights in the UK in recent years, such as his October 2019 win over Robbie Davies Jnr.

His vicious power has also been on display during his career, as seen in his quick-fire stoppage victories over Paul Hyland Jnr, Scott Cardle and Joe Murray, with those three fights lasting less than four rounds combined.

Ritson’s first bout since signing with Probellum will come on Saturday, when he competes against Hank Lundy on the BOXXER event at the Newcastle Arena – live on Sky Sports Boxing.

Probellum will guide the career of Ritson moving forward, as their expert team look to use their vast knowledge to help navigate the 28-year-old back towards world title contention.

It is the latest major statement of intent from Probellum, following on from their signings of Regis Prograis, Nonito Donaire, Badou Jack, Eimantas Stanionis, Arthur Biyarslanov, Taras Shelestyuk, Ricky Burns, Eduardo Hernandez and Brandon Moore.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Probellum team,” said Ritson“Over the last few weeks they have made some huge signings and I’m happy we’ve got the deal over the line and I’ve signed with them.”

“It’s great to welcome someone of Lewis’ high standard to the team,” said Richard Schaefer, President of Probellum“He’s always in entertaining fights and is one of the most popular fighters in the entire UK.

“He’s been on the cusp of a world title shot before, and Probellum will now be on hand to steer him back towards that level as we help him achieve his dream of one day becoming world champion.”

For live news and updates, be sure to follow Probellum on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

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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’ 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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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 
(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)
(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 
(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 
(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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