Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed his delight at unearthing a gem in Lewis Ritson, as the Newcastle boxer prepares for a third defence of his British lightweight title at the Metro Radio Arena on Saturday night.
For Ritson it will be his fourth fight under the Matchroom Boxing chief and victory will see the talented Forest Hall fighter keep the coveted Lord Lonsdale title outright.
Co-headlining the show in Newcastle with Olympian Josh Kelly, Ritson must get through Paul Hyland Jnr to retain his title outright.
But Hearn says it’s been a remarkable time for Ritson and admits he’s been amazed by just how much response he’s got from fight fans ahead of the show.
Hearn said of Ritson: “Lewis has always done well with his tickets but for this show it’s been unbelievable. They just kept ringing and asking for more.
“There’s only one fighter I know who personally sells more than Lewis has for this show and that’s Anthony Crolla. Maybe Josh Warrington when we had him. It’s about the same kind of level.
“I’m expecting they’re going to raise the roof for him.”
On his delight at discovering Ritson, Hearn continued: “They’re two very different characters. You’ve got Josh Kelly who is widely regarded worldwide as one of the biggest talents in the sport. He’s expected to go on to challenge for world titles after coming out of the Olympics.
“But on the other hand you’ve then got this rough and ready kid from Newcastle who was never really expected to be a star, but has put on an a few incredible performances and all of a sudden he’s right up there.
“I can’t wait (to hear that atmosphere as Blaydon Races hits).
“And I’m pleased for Lewis as well. Don’t get me wrong Josh has performed well above the levels he was expected to, but he’s got the pedigree.
“But for Lewis this is new. Just a year ago he was applying for factory jobs and he was ready to jack boxing in. Now look at him. He’s making great money, he’s boxing regularly and selling all these tickets to win the British title outright.
“This is what boxing is all about. Stories like this is why we all love boxing. It’s all about unearthing gems like Lewis Ritson.”
Hearn knows that Belfast’s Hyland Jnr will be no easy task for Ritson on Saturday, however.
As well as dealing with the classy Northern Irishman, Ritson must also control his emotions on what is expected to be an atmospheric evening on Tyneside.
“He must be wary on Saturday,” Hearn said. “He’s got to concentrate and take his time and not think he’s invincible.
“He took shots in the (Scotty) Cardle fight and Hyland can punch hard and he’s technically very good too. So he has to stay calm.
“You never know how a fighter will react in these kind of situations. When he hears the music as he’s walking out, will he get carried away? One shot is all it takes and your dreams are shattered.
“But hopefully he gets the job done on Saturday and then we’ll be back here in September/October. That’s the plan.”
A limited number of tickets are still available from the Metro Radio Arena Website and Stubhub.
Source : Chroniclelive