The breakout British fighter of the last 12 months is refreshingly humble. Should Lewis Ritson retain the British lightweight title against mandatory challenger, Paul Hyland – that match will most likely take place on June 16 in Newcastle – he will secure a coveted Lonsdale Belt within just over eight months. That his three British title victories thus far have come inside schedule and against quality opposition in Robbie Barrett (to win the belt last October), Joe Murray and Scott Cardle only underlines the scale of his achievement and meteoric rise. Ritson is 15-0 (9) and despite experienced observers proclaiming him the next British fighter to accomplish big things on the world stage, the Forest Hall fighter remains firmly down to earth.
“I actually haven't a clue why my recent form has been so good,” says Ritson, who was once trained by Billy Nelson in Scotland but now prepares locally with his dad, Dave, Owen Reay and, since before the Barrett win, Neil Fannan. “I've just been doing the same things in the gym as what I've been doing for the last year-and-a-half and it just seems to be paying off. I don't really feel there is a buzz, I’m just laidback about it all really, I just feel I'm the same fighter as I've always been and the buzz is just the same as it has been from the start.”
Modesty aside, the buzz around Ritson is evident and growing at a rapid rate. Just 24 and in hot form, the former national amateur finalist is keen to go as far as he can, to provide for his longterm girlfriend and seven-month-old daughter. It was only two-and-a-half years ago that Lewis told me his footwork was “shocking” and he will now only admit to marginal progress.
“It’s still not great but a little improved, I'd say a solid 5/10,” he laughs. “Hopefully I never get asked to go on Strictly Come Dancing! I’m just a typical come-forward fighter who moves his head a little.
“Boxing is all about a bit of luck and picking the right fights at the right time. Hopefully we can reach the top but there is a lot of work to be done.”