Forest Hall’s British lightweight champion Lewis Ritson promises he won’t be relinquishing his title on Sunday evening, as he headlines his first Matchroom card against Joe Murray.
Never one to shy away from a fight, the Geordie boxing star will make the first defence of his Lord Lonsdale strap in Murray’s hometown of Manchester on top of the NXTGen card live on Sky Sports.
It’s Ritson’s first defence of the strap since his impressive performance against Robbie Barrett to win it back in October.
Murray is a far more experienced foe who comes with the danger of knockout power in his arsenal, but Ritson plans on bringing that belt back to Tyneside.
“I don’t plan on losing that British title,” he said.
“This is defence number one and the plan is to have the three defences and keep it outright. It’s one of the most-coveted belts in boxing. Even Carl Froch says that the British title is the only one he has out on display in his house, and that just goes to show how iconic it is.
“I wasn’t someone who came from the amateur GB squad. When those guys come through they’re straight away targeting bigger things, but for us who have to come through fighting on the small-hall shows, that British title is like the main aim. It’s massive.”
Riston can’t afford to look too much further than defence number one, however.
Dad Dave acts as Ritson’s head coach, and focus and effort are big things he demands of his son.
In the past Ritson Jnr has spoken about how his dad is never easy on him and pushes him to the absolute limit ahead of fights.
But ahead of his first title defence he admits that this training camp has been a lot more enjoyable than the one ahead of the Barrett bout.
“I can’t wait for this. I’m topping the card and that feels good.
“We’ve done everything right in training but in many ways it feels like it’s been a really relaxed training camp that I’ve enjoyed a lot more than the Robbie Barrett one. But not relaxed as in easy, because I feel better for this one and have made weight a lot easier.
“That Robbie fight was great. He was a strong lad but it all came right for us and I showed what I’m capable of on a big stage.
“Now it’s on to this one. They call Joe Murray ‘Joe the genius’ because they say he can work out any style, but we’ll see on Sunday night if he can handle me.
“He’s a much more experienced lad, but that’s the case with most of the lads of in the top ten in the British lightweight rankings. But we feel as though we’re in the right stage now and going in the right direction.”
Ritson’s preparation will need to have been good.
Despite coming short in challenges for the Commonwealth title and then the British title at super featherweight, the 31-year-old Manchester man has experience on his side and has also had some choice words for Ritson ahead of the fight.
The 2008 Olympian has vowed to rip the title of the Newcastle man. Not that it bothers the respectful Ritson.
He continued: “The one thing I never want to do is hand-pick opponents. I will genuinely fight anyone.
“We were meant to fight Murray before the Barrett fight in a British eliminator. I think I was going to get about £1,500 for that but we were still willing to go down to Manchester and take the fight.
“It was him who pulled out and said he had better things to aim for and then two months later he was fighting a six-rounder. It is what it is though. I’m the champion now and I’m happy to give him a shot.
“He’s a good opponent. A lot of people I’ve spoken to have told me to watch out for his big backhand. We know he’s got that big one-shot in his locker that we have to be aware of.
“We know he’ll have a bit of a go, but that will suit me down to the ground.
“I don’t like making predictions because I don’t like to be disrespectful, but obviously it will be a Ritson win.”
Ritson’s fight tops the Matchroom show on Sky Sports on Sunday evening, which is live from 7pm.
Source : Chroniclelive