LEWIS RITSON stormed to a tremendous victory over Liverpool’s Robbie Davies. With his hometown supporters raising a deafening noise Ritson came through a brutal, bruising battle with Davies to claim a unanimous decision.
The Liverpudlian, more established at super-lightweight, elected to meet Ritson head on, driving himself forward in the early rounds. He leant on up close, whipping hooks in, hurtful digs. It was an unexpected approach but Ritson adapted. The Newcastle favourite might not have the same explosive power in this division as he did at lightweight but on this night his hands had real weight behind them. He clocked Robbie with solid left hooks and in the middle rounds Ritson began to tag him with jabs. They knocked into Davies’ head.
Blood smeared from the Liverpudlian’s nose but the two traded savage shots, with many of the rounds close yet furiously fought. Going into the last round both men knew they had to finish with a flourish. Davies tore into Ritson, fast punches drumming him into the ropes. But Ritson slammed in his back hand, returning fire with heavy shots of his own.
It was a grandstand conclusion to an excellent battle. Ritson won a unanimous decision, 117-112 and 116-112 twice. Howard Foster refereed.
Ted Cheeseman has had a nightmare year, after a punishing loss to Sergio Garcia and a draw with Kieron Conway. But he brought his British title to the Newcastle Arena as well as the lessons of recent experiences. He did not barrel headlong into Scott Fitzgerald. The new, improved Cheeseman was up on the balls of his feet, moving easily from side to side. Fitzgerald hunted after the Londoner, but initially Ted gave away few openings, firing off a right cross to spring away clear.
With little to separate them, the “Mad Man” from Preston began to break through in the final quarter of the contest. His power began to tell as he ripped left hooks through to the body and cannoned his right cross into the head. Fitzgerald won a unanimous decision, 116-113 for both Phil Edwards and Marcus McDonnell and 115-113 for Howard Foster. Michael Alexander refereed. Cheeseman felt he was in control, and was left outraged at the decision. But Fitzgerald’s final rally had looked like it tipped the balance his way.
Congolese heavyweight Martin Bakole had a replacement opponent in well-known American Kevin Johnson. Bakole trundled after him, leaving himself open for the odd right hand Johnson fired into his head. But halfway through their scheduled eight rounder Bakole’s work took on a new air of menace. He stayed on Johnson, lancing a heavy right cross through. As Johnson slowed further, Bakole pinned him down on the ropes and sustained a barrage of punches. Beneath a left hook and the follow up assault, the American slumped down to a knee and referee Ron Kearney called the bout off 58 seconds into the fifth round.
Kieron Conway had Konrad Stempkowski down on the canvas in the sixth of eight rounds, holding his side as he winced with pain. But the journeyman from Reading shrugged off the after effects of the shot to continue. He could not though repel the quality combinations Conway kept firing through his defences. The Northampton fighter took a clear 80-71 points win. Ron Kearney refereed.
Ashleigh Curry’s corner wisely waved the white towel to surrender after 47 seconds of her third round with Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall. An Olympian and amateur World champion, Marshall had dominated the American from the very beginning. In the first round she hurt Curry with a left hook to the body. With her prey sitting on the ropes Marshall whaled away with hooks and uppercuts as referee Ron Kearney watched closely. She continued to persecute the southpaw until she trapped Curry on the ropes and another merciless onslaught prompted the finish.
A split draw advanced neither Lawrence Osueke nor Ricky Summers in a 10 round British title eliminator that was marred by too clinching. Newcastle’s Osueke picked out single jabs and chopped at Summers with his right hook. But he threw combinations too infrequently while Sandwell’s Summers cuffed hooks round his head and walked him on to jabs of his own. Michael Alexander 96-95 for Summers, Marcus McDonnell in contrast had it 100-92 for Osueke while Howard Foster scored them level 95-95. Phil Edwards refereed.
Roared on by tremendous support, local favourite Joe Laws barrelled into Justice Addy, hammering hooks off either hand, from either stance, simply relentless as he looked for a knockout. The Ghanaian’s legs buckled beneath him but he just about kept himself upright. He could not stop Laws winning a 39-37 four-round decision for referee Ron Kearney.
With John Docherty needing a new opponent at short notice, Lewis Van Poetsch stepped into the breach and proved a stubborn obstacle for the Scotsman to shift. Docherty peppered the Gloucestershire man with southpaw jabs and snapped down his left. Van Poetsch stood up to the punishment, Docherty winning a 60-54 decision for referee Ron Kearney after six rounds.
Liverpool’s Thomas Whittaker-Hart took a 40-36 points victory over Middleton’s Darryl Sharpe. Ron Kearney scored the four-rounder for triallist referee Kevin Weaver.
Newcastle’s April Hunter made her professional debut, driving Borislava Goranova across the ring firstly with regular jabs before hurting the Bulgarian with hefty right hands. Goranova felt the weight of those shots, particularly in the fourth and last round but saw out a 40-36 decision defeat. Ron Kearney was the referee.
Home town fighter Terry Wilkinson increased the intensity over his four rounds with Darryl Pearce, hammering the Birmingham man with straight punches to make sure of a 40-36 victory. Nicaragua’s Eduardo Valverde held Bedlington’s Darren Reay to 38-38 draw, with Ron Kearney scoring both four rounders for triallist Weaver.
The Verdict An exciting fighter with a tremendous following, Ritson can look forward to even bigger nights to come.
Lewis Ritson (139½lbs), 20-1 (12), w pts 12 Robbie Davies (139½lbs), 19-2 (13); Scott Fitzgerald (153lbs 2oz), 14-0 (9), w pts 12 Ted Cheeseman (153¼lbs), 15-2-1 (9); Lawrence Osueke (173lbs 10oz), 9-0-1 (1), d pts 10 Ricky Summers (173lbs 14oz), 16-2-1 (5); Martin Bakole (264½lbs), 15-1 (12), w rsf 5 Kevin Johnson (256¼lbs), 34-16-1 (18); Kieron Conway (156¼lbs), 13-1-1 (3), w pts 8 Konrad Stempkowski (156lbs 2oz), 9-2; Savanna Marshall (165lbs 14oz), 8-0 (6), w rsf 3 Ashleigh Curry (171lbs 3oz), 8-13-4 (1); Thomas Whittaker Hart (179¾lbs), 3-0 (1), w pts 4 Darryl Sharpe (175lbs 2oz), 5-63-1; April Hunter (148lbs 10oz), 1-0, w pts 4 Borislava Goranova (149lbs 14oz), 11-59-4; Terry Wilkinson (142lbs), 8-0, w pts 4 Daryl Pearce (141lbs 10oz), 1-4; John Docherty (170lbs), 7-0 (5), w pts 6 Lewis Van Poetsch (178lbs), 9-113-2 (2); Joe Laws (147lbs 14oz), 8-0 (4), w pts 4 Justice Addy (145lbs 2oz), 16-6-1 (4); Darren Reay (141lbs 14 oz), 6-0-2 (1), d pts 4 Eduardo Valverde (140lbs 2oz), 2-2-1 (1).