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Lewis Ritson gets the decision over Miguel Vazquez but the performance of judge Terry O’Connor must be investigated

Lewis Ritson
Judge Terry O'Connor seen looking away from the action before scoring Lewis Ritson a lopsided winner over Miguel Vazquez

LEWIS RITSON managed to get the decision over Miguel Vazquez but the split decision in the Geordie’s favour left a bitter taste in the mouths of observers. Even show promoter Eddie Hearn, who watched from home due to coronavirus restrictions, felt that the visiting fighter was the winner.

Hearn’s point of view was not shared by Terry O’Connor. His lopsided tally of 117-111 in Ritson’s favour was simply appalling and must be investigated. To make matters worse, a screenshot of O’Connor looking away from the action and at something that looked like a phone during the fight, went viral. “If that’s a phone (and I presume it is) then the BBB of C should immediately remove him,” Hearn said on Twitter. “Watching from home and felt Vazquez deserved the win there.”

Even Michael Alexander’s score of 115-113 for Ritson was difficult to comprehend. Marcus McDonnell, who turned in a 116-113 card in favour of the former IBF lightweight champion, was the only judge who recognised Vazquez was the winner.

“It was a very close fight,” Ritson told Sky Sports afterwards. “I thought he was just tapping, while I was hitting him with the cleaner shots. My corner were confident I won, I thought I won. I did get frustrated because I could not hit him because he was so awkward.

“He was just tap, tap, tap, running away. We’ve come away with a win and I think deservedly so.”

It was certainly a night on the Matchroom event when the away corner gave as good as they got. There was a deserved success for the red corner in the chief support bout as Salford’s Marc Leach ended the unbeaten run of Qais Ashfaq in the British super-bantamweight championship eliminator. Leach put the Leeds boxer down twice on the way to winning on all three cards, 96-93, 96-92, 95-93.

Originally this card was due to be staged in Newcastle and it proved a difficult night for the North-East.

World-rated super-bantam Thomas Patrick Ward was held to a technical draw by late sub Thomas Essomba after a bad cut to Ward forced the 10-rounder to be halted at the start of the ninth.

Geordie crowd favourite Joe Laws was knocked out in round three by Norwich prospect, Rylan Charlton.

Former GB boxer Ellie Scotney opened her professional career in style with a six-round points victory, while in the late-notice match-up, Birmingham’s Kane Baker halted the unbeaten run of Meshech Speare, 59-56.

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