Emerging local hero Lewis Ritson unexpectedly slipped to a split decision points defeat in his European lightweight clash with Belgium’s Francesco Patera on Saturday night. Despite starting off at his usual high tempo, Ritson was unable to put away his opponent in the early rounds and fell away in the middle and later stages of the fight. Later revealing he had been in hurt by a series of body shots from the experienced and clearly well prepared Patera. Buoyed by the electric atmosphere inside the Metro Radio Arena, Ritson was able to recover and rally in the 11th yet Patera finished the stronger in the final round which seemed to sway the judges in his favour. Meaning that a dejected Ritson could only look on as his opponent’s hand was raised in front of him and the thousands of supporters who had come to see their new hero in the flesh.
Despite this shock defeat, at the young age of twenty five, Ritson will no doubt come again yet he may have to alter his ultra aggressive approach if he plans to headline more huge fight nights in his beloved Newcastle and beyond.
Down the bill there was better news for British fighters as the increasingly impressive light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi dismantled veteran Toby Averlant inside a round. Buatsi, who looked to be well in the early gears, managed to force the ten count with crippling body shots before finishing his opponent with just a few seconds of the first to go. Averlant, who had previously gone seven rounds with another potential British star Anthony Yarde, simply had no answers versus a ruthlessly efficient Buatsi. Many will now hope that he and Yarde will cross paths sometime in the near future in a light heavyweight division that is full of British fighters who have the potential to do very big things at domestic level and beyond.
Further down the card, fan favourite and mini internet sensation Dave ‘The White Rhino’ Allen continued his resurgence at heavyweight with a first round stoppage of his own versus Samir Nebo. Allen, after his watershed knockout of Nick Webb last time out, looked hungry from the off and bullied his opponent into the corner before whipping a sharp left hook to body that sent Nebo to his knees and the German fighter couldn’t make the ten count. ‘One Dave Allen’ then made its way around the jubilant Newcastle crowd before Allen provided a typically comedic moment by imitating local football hero Alan Shearer’s famous goal celebration in front of the man himself. All jokes aside though, if Allen can keep himself mentally and physically primed then he really could leave his mark on the heavyweight division, at British and European level at least. Though, after a recent Twitter back and forth it looks as though he wants to emulate Dillian Whyte by taking on Australian Lucas Browne. Which could be the fight to propel Allen far beyond his internet joker status and up among the current top contenders in British Heavyweight boxing.
Despite Saturday night ending in huge disappointment for the expectant home crowd it was another example of boxing’s appeal spreading far beyond the glamorous Wembley nights of Anthony Joshua et al and proved that a good sized arena can be filled and entertained alongside the super fights that take place in the capital. With fights now being regularly aired on Sky Sports, BT Spor and ITV Box Office to cater for the slew of active British talent in the sport, it looks as though British boxing will continue to lead the way on the world stage for many years to come.
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