LEWIS RITSON SIGNS PROMOTIONAL DEAL WITH PROBELLUM

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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RITSON VS. PONCE WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

18:15 (BST) LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK

6 x 3 mins Welterweight contest
JOE LAWS 10st 9lbs 3oz v CHRIS ADAWAY 10st 6lbs 0oz
(Benwell, England)              (Plymouth, England)

Followed by

19:00 (BST) LIVE ON SKY SPORTS/DAZN

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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RITSON VS. PONCE PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

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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RITSON FACES PONCE IN IBF WORLD TITLE FINAL ELIMINATOR

‘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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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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