Lewis Ritson outpoints Robbie Davies Jr. in a domestic thriller
That’s how it’s done.
Popular junior welterweight Lewis Ritson turned in a career-best performance to claim a 12-round unanimous decision over Robbie Davies Jr. at the Newcastle Arena in Newcastle, England on Saturday. The official scores were 117-112, 116-112 and 116-112.
Ritson, a former British champion at lightweight, matched the naturally bigger man on the inside and, for the most part, got the best of it at long range. The Newcastle star now has his career back on track after a disappointing decision defeat to Francesco Patera in a European title bout last October.
“I said this was my coming out party and I was 100-percent right,” said Ritson (20-1, 12 knockouts) in his post-fight interview with Sky Sports. “I showed people I can box, and I showed people I’ve got an engine over 12 rounds. But it takes two to tango and Robbie did his part.”
The opening round featured three minutes of hellacious combat with both men trading big power shots from the get-go. Somewhat ominously for Davies Jr., Ritson’s work appeared to have a more telling affect and the home crowd were in absolute uproar.
Davies Jr. refused to be discouraged, however, and voluntarily went to the inside in Round 2. Ritson was only too happy to oblige and the action was highly competitive with scores of flush shots landing from both sides. The pace of the bout at this stage was just incredible.
There was virtually no daylight between the pair for the first five rounds, but while the long-range action returned in the sixth, the quality of the bout remained high. Davies Jr. was having significant success with some nifty switch-hitting, however Ritson was getting off with a sharp jab and scoring well himself.
The eighth and ninth rounds were solid sessions for Davies Jr., who applied plenty of pressure and kept the punches flowing. The Liverpool man was more versatile with his approach, but Ritson was always able to adjust and return fire and that was significant.
Many of the sessions were difficult to score, but a great drive from Ritson to end the 11th probably gave him that session. The Newcastle man raised his hands at the end of the round and was greeted with a thunderous response from the partisan crowd.
The final round was a classic, the best of the fight, and the 26-year-old Ritson appeared to edge it with some exceptional combination work.
“Obviously I’m devastated,” said Davies Jr. (19-2, 13 KOs). “In the early rounds I had the game plan to push him back, but Lewis changed tactics in the middle of the fight and started to give me trouble.”
This bout was an official WBA eliminator. If you didn’t get to see the fight, then do your best to get a hold of it.
Lancashire’s Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) claimed the British junior middleweight title with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over Ted Cheeseman. The official scores were 116-113, 116-113 and 115-113. This was a fight of two halves. Cheeseman boxed beautifully from the opening bell, scoring with sharper work on the outside and his mobility prevented Fitzgerald from getting set. As the bout approached the championship rounds, however, Cheeseman had slowed down and the challenger began scoring effectively, particularly to the body. Both men thought they’d won at the final bell and Cheeseman (15-2-1, 9 KOs) exited the ring in protest the moment the verdict was announced.
Scotland-based heavyweight Martin Bakole boxed smartly en route to a fifth-round stoppage of former title challenger Kevin Johnson. The bout was scheduled for eight. It was one-way traffic from the opening bell as Bakole continually let his hands go at mid-range, forcing the 40-year-old American to glue his gloves to his head for the duration of the contest. Having inflicted enough damage, Bakole (14-1, 11 KOs) confidently went for the finish in the fifth and found it. Referee Ron Kearney called a halt at 0:58. Johnson falls to 34-16-1 (18 KOs).
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing