It was one of the most controversial decisions of 2020 and Lewis Ritson admits he was fortunate to get the win over Miguel Vazquez eight months ago.
Ritson battled Vazquez over 12 rounds in Peterborugh in a defence of an IBF trinket, and it appeared that the veteran Mexican had done more than enough to get the verdict at the end. However, it was Ritson, who appeared lacklustre throughout, that picked up the victory courtesy of a 115-113 card from Michael Alexander and a bamboozling score of 117-111 from Terry O’Connor. Marcus McDonnell gave Vazquez the win with his score of 116-113.
This weekend in Newcastle live on Sky Sports Ritson returns to action for the first time since beating Vazquez and takes on Argentina’s Jeremias Nicolas Ponce in an IBF super lightweight title final eliminator. ‘The Sandman’, in a Matchroom press release, said he was fortunate to hear ‘And still’ at the end of his fight against Vazquez.
“I haven’t really watched it back but a couple of days later I went to my dad’s house and asked him if he’d watched the fight,” Ritson recalled. “He said yes, and I asked him to be truthful about what he thought of it. He was honest and said we got the rub of the green, we got very lucky, and we got gifted a decision, but that it is up to me whether to dwell on it or improve on it.
“That’s what we’ve done, we’ve gone away and made a few changes in camp. It was just a clash of styles. I think I was probably Vazquez’ best performance in a few years and it was one of my worst to be fair. You live and you learn, there was maybe a few things that we could have done differently in that fight. We know that now and we’ve got the experience in the bank.”
Ritson parted ways with trainer Neil Fannan after the Vazquez controversy and re-joined his father in a bid to get back on track and gain a world title opportunity against undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor.
“I’m back with my old man. I had a little bit of thinking to do after my last fight. I half hinted that I wanted to come home, and my dad half hinted that he wanted to be back training me. It was the right move for me and we’ve been flying in camp. A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter, it’s probably the first time in a while that I’ve been quite happy.
“I’ve got a little girl and I was sick of being away from her in the end. I was down there stuck in a flat, training twice a day and then nothing else to do, especially with the lockdown. I could have been back home with my little girl. I’ve got another little girl on the way so that definitely played a part in it. I can’t wait for fight night now and to show people that the Vazquez fight was a bit of a slip up. I’m going to be back better and stronger.”
Main image: Mark Robinson