Lewis Ritson will box for the WBA inter-continental light-welterweight title on his debut in the new division.
‘The Sandman’ fights Argentina’s Germain Argentino Benitez at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday, March 23.
It is brilliant news for the 25-year-old, who has stepped up to 10stones having been the British champion at lightweight where all four title wins came inside the distance.
Benitez will be no soft touch. As the WBO’s Latino Light-welter champ, the 27-year-old holds a record of 21 victories (nine early) against just three losses.
It’s a big night for Ritson who is boxing for the first time since losing for the first occasion in his career, a split-decision points defeat to Francesco Patera for the vacant European lightweight title in his home city of Newcastle last October.
“Now is the right time to move up to 140lbs,” said Ritson, who now trains full-time in Hartlepool with coach Neil Fannan.
“I probably should have moved up in weight a while ago but I was determined to test myself on the European scene which is why I carried on.
“There are no excuses from me though about the last fight.”
“To be fighting for the WBA Inter-Continental title opens some doors right away with a win.
“I didn’t want to be fighting in a six or eight rounder just to feel in to the new weight, or fighting at Commonwealth or British level.
“That’s no disrespect to the lads up in this weight, but I’ve got the British title on my Dad’s mantlepiece so I don’t really want to be going over old ground.
“I’m a million miles away from a World title at the minute, but will be keeping an eye on the Hughes vs. Davies Jnr fight [in Liverpool on March 30].
“The European title is something I failed to win, so I would be open to fighting for it down the line if it made sense for all parties.
“Generally, it’s a really open division – I’ve sparred WBA World Champion Kiryl Relikh before and after seeing Maurice Hooker’s last performance I wouldn’t shy away from those if they cropped up down the line. A couple of wins and I could be in the frame which sets me up for a really exciting year.”
Words: Roy Kelly Picture: Jennifer Charlton