Lewis Ritson v Jeremias Ponce
Live on Sky Sports
Ritson returns to action
A thrilling week of live sport continues Saturday evening at Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle for the Matchroom Boxing promotion. Eddie Hearn brings fans an interesting programme headlined by the return of fans favourite Lewis Ritson, who takes on Argentina's Jeremias Nicolas Ponce. The main attraction is scheduled for 12 rounds and doubles as an IBF super lightweight world title final eliminator.
Beat Ponce in his home city, and Ritson will be in line for a shot at the world title later this year. However, he can't afford to look beyond this fight as a second career defeat would send him skittling back down through the rankings. There's all to play for here.
Sandman on a winning run
Ritson is known as the Sandman, and with a 55% knockout ratio, the warrior from Tyne and Wear certainly lives up to the billing. He enters the ring for this latest challenge with a professional record detailing 21 wins against just one defeat, with a dozen of those victories coming by way of knockout.
The hard-hitting 27-year-old is currently ranked number four in the UK and 21st in the world, with both lists topped by Scotsman Josh Taylor, who recently unified the division's world titles. Ritson knows a convincing victory here would see him climb the ladder, closing the gap on a potential England versus Scotland world title fight.
The sole defeat on Ritson's card was inflicted by Belgian Francesco Patera at the Metro Radio Arena back in 2018. Ritson lost by a split decision that night with the European title on the line but bounced back to record victory in each of his next four. Interestingly, three of those four wins have come on points. He's 1.538/15 to win on the Betfair Exchange.
Ponce arrives with an unbeaten record
Ponce may be seen by most with an interest in the British boxing scene as an unknown and little more than an opponent to the Englishman. But his stats show he shouldn't be taken lightly. The 24-year-old from Buenos Aires travels with a perfect 27 fight record, 17 of those wins coming inside the distance. He demands respect.
Jere is ranked number one in his homeland but outside of the top 30 in the world, which is surprising given his stats. He has fought outside of Argentina only twice before and has boxed over the championship 12 rounds distance on two occasions, which may explain his standings on the global chart.
Ponce arrives in Newcastle with the confidence that comes from a proud unbeaten run, and three of his last four have gone the distance, so there should be no concerns over his fitness levels. He'll duck between the ropes believing he can come to England and spoil the party. Ponce is 2.9215/8.
CV shrinks under scrutiny
The away fighter's record looks impressive on paper, and there's no doubting the fact he'll come to win, but his CV doesn't quite stand up under scrutiny. Ponce's last five fighters have a combined 55 losses on their record, with only one of those bouts fought outside Argentina.
To have any chance of fighting for a world title later this year, Ritson not only has to win, but he must do it in style. The Englishman has already proven he can take opponents out, but the pressure is on to show he can use his boxing skills to avoid danger. Back Ritson to win on points at 2.2 on the sportsbook.