Liverpool's British, Commonwealth and European Super-lightweight champion Robbie Davies Jr travels to Newcastle Arena on Saturday, October 19th to settle outstanding issues with local man Lewis Ritson live on Sky Sports and DAZN in the USA.
The pair seem to truly dislike one another and this spilt out when they appeared on the Anthony Fowler vs Brian Rose card at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre at the beginning of August. This is a genuine grudge match that could provide real fireworks.
Both boxers have 19-1-0 records. The loss on Davies Jr's record came in July 2017 against Poland's Michal Syrowatka when the Liverpool fighter defended his WBA Continental title for the first time. Davies Jr dropped the challenger in the 9th round but got caught by some hefty hooks in the final round. The feeling was that Davies Jr should have used his superior boxing to stay out of harms reach but Syrowatka drew him into a close-quarters skirmish and he had more left in the tank.
Eight months later and Syrowatka returned to England to defend his new title at the BT Convention Center in Liverpool. Davies Jr showed what he had learnt from his defeat and boxed neatly, controlling distance and giving the Pole very few chances to land his heavy hooks. The Liverpudlian's efforts brought knockdowns in the 3rd, 4th, and 12th rounds, the final knockdown bringing matters to a close.
Wins over Glen Foot for the vacant Britsh title and Foot's Commonwealth belt and Joe Hughes for the EBU belt followed and have given Davies Jr a world ranking that promoter Eddie Hearn seems convinced he can deliver on, so the stakes are high in this fight.
Lewis Ritson was flying high until he challenged for the vacant European Lightweight title against Belgium's Francesco Patera at the Metro Arena in Hometown Newcastle in October 2018.
Ritson changed an ordinary-looking 12 fight unbeaten record into something special when he ripped away the British Lightweight title with a 7th round corner retirement of highly regarded Robbie Barrett. Barrett had made a name for himself by taking the title from Scott Cardle. Ritson defended the title against Joe Murray and Cardle and then met the 18 fight undefeated Paul Hyland Jr. In one of his best performances, Ritson scored 3 knockdowns to force a 1st round stoppage and send ripples through the domestic Lightweight division.
Matchroom and Sky Sports were building up Ritson as the man to bring big-time boxing back to the Northeast but he was badly outboxed by Patera losing by 4 rounds on 2 of the judges' cards with the Danish judge strangely scoring for the hometown man by the same margin.
With two decent comeback wins since the Patera setback, Ritson's third outing of 2019 will be the biggest of his career. If he wins, he can put the EBU title loss behind him and take his Liverpool rival's place in the world's top 140lb rankings.
These two are very evenly matched and this is a genuine 50/50 grudge match. Both have their limitations and both have world-class attributes. I think this fight is going to come down to temperament, and that's why I see Ritson ending up with his hand raised after a blood and guts war. Davies Jr will try to box on the outside and tie the Newcastle puncher up when he gets in close, but it is Davies Jr that has trouble keeping his emotions under control, so with the fight taking place in front of a volatile pro-Ritson crowd, I see all the advantages in Ritson's favour.
Prediction: Ritson by a close points decision