Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Dave Thompson/Matchroom Boxing
Powerful Argentine Jeremias Ponce (28-0, 18KOs) stopped Forest Hall's Lewis Ritson (21-2, 12KOs) in the 10th round of their IBF Super-Lightweight World Title Final Eliminator at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle, on June 12.
After going down three times in total, the towel was thrown in by 'The Sandman's' corner team; more specifically, his dad, Dave Ritson, but referee Steve Gray went against their decision and threw it back out again.
Ponce thought he had won, but the experienced official ordered him to continue.
Post-fight, Steve Gray visited the dressing room of the defeated fighter to explain his actions,stating that he allowed the fight to continue on because the shots were going in to the body and not the head.
"I knew you wanted to go on but because they were body shots, that's why I threw it back out. If they were head shots, I would have stopped it.
I thought you still had something left," he told Lewis. "You came back with stuff."
Gray then went on to talk directly with Ritson's trainer and father, Dave, "I feel like I should explain because I've gone against your call and that's very, very rare for a referee to throw a towel out, but when you did it [throw the towel in] I thought he looked alright to me."
From Fleetwood, Lancashire, Steve Gray has officiated well over 1,000 professional contests over the past two decades. He was last seen in the ring, officiating the 12-round WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight championship bout between Dereck Chisora and Joe Parker in Manchester, which Parker won on points.
He concluded, "I just listed it purely on, 'Do I think he's fit to continue?' and I did. And that's all I can go on."