Ritson battered in front of hometown crowd, but controversy surrounds Matchroom swansong
In Matchroom's final outing on Sky Sports, Hometown hero, Lewis Ritson suffered the second and most painful loss in his professional career at the hands of visiting Argentinian, Jeremias Ponce.The fight was brutal, one that will stay in the memory for a while. But sadly, for the wrong reasons. The fight was called to a halt in the tenth round after Ritson visited the canvas three times. Twice more than he needed to. Ritson,, who had been troubled by body shots all night was dropped a first time. Ritsons corner threw the towel, yet referee Steve Gray ignored the signal and allowed Ritson to endure further punishment and two further knockdowns.
The opening stanza was a painful one for the hometown hero. There was the square root of zero feeling out process as both men went to work right away. A body shot clearly troubled Ritson, with his foe jumping straight in, sensing an early finish and a shock result. Ritson, however, saw out the round.
The second round started exactly the same way. Neither man wanted to give away any ground. Ponce the far more active, but Ritsons clamshell guard absorbed most of the work. Ritson had his moments, but it was another round for the away corner.
The intent Ponce has put into the early sessions is ferocious, the beginning of the third saw Ritson have to endure some save uppercuts. The pace was white hot, could it continue?
The fourth suggested perhaps not, both men elected to get behind the jab and work off of it. For the first time, it appeared as though Ponce might just be beginning to slow down. Hardly a surprise given his whirlwind start.
The fifth was back to business and another painful one for Ritson. Something needed to change in the second half, but the second wind was nowhere to be seen.
Ritson was brave, perhaps too brave. And ultimately bested in a fight that sees Ponce become newly crowned 140-pound head honcho, Josh Taylor's mandatory challenger for the IBF super-lightweight world crown.
For Ritson, it is back to the drawing board yet again