Lewis Ritson (20-1, 12KOs) will clash with former long-reigning World Champion Miguel Vazquez (42-9, 16KOs) on a huge night of action at the Utilita Arena Newcastle on Saturday April 4, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Geordie favourite Ritson produced a career-best performance to beat bitter rival Robbie Davies Jr in an enthralling Fight of the Year candidate last time out in October to stay in line for a shot at the WBA Super-Lightweight crown. Elusive Vazquez lost to Josh Taylor in Scotland, but was dominant and ultimately unlucky in his performance against Ohara Davies in England last June.
BBN asked their panel of experts who wins this 140lbs fight between the Geordie 'Sandman' and the Mexican 'Puppet'?
British featherweight champion
"Ritson will win on points in a great learning fight with a very experienced operator and former multiple-time champion.
Ritson is on the up and looks to be improving and will take a lot of confidence from that win against Robbie Davies Jr. He’ll be a better, more confident fighter after such a good performance.
Great matchmaking and the perfect step up before pushing for world honours."
"Points win for Lewis Ritson, in my view.
Miguel Vazquez, at the age of 33, has had his best years. He's one of the longest reigning IBF champions in history, with something like six or seven defences, but that was many years ago now, back in 2014, and he hasn't been a force at world level since. I know he fought for the IBO World welterweight title not too long ago, but he hasn't been world level for a while, in my opinion. He did great against Ohara, he rolled back the years, but I think OD wasn't at his best in that fight, possibly due to his skilled opponent making things awkward for him. Davies is back to his best now though, so I think it would be a different fight if they fought again.
Lewis Ritson has been sensational throughout his entire career, in my opinion. His one defeat to Patera was still a close decision, although one judge was wrong scoring it to Ritson, it should have been unanimous. His move up from lightweight to super-lightweight perhaps tells the story why he lost. I think we will see a very dominant performance from the 'Sandman'.
I would add that Vazquez in his last two 12-round contests has been stopped in the ninth round. His recent 10-round defeats have been on points. Could be worth noting if placing a bet that he is at more risk of being stopped in 12-round contests. After writing this, I would actually say Ritson to win between rounds 9-12."
"I fancy Ritson to take care of business. It looks like he has learned from his shock defeat against Patera. He put in a good performance against Robbie Davies Jr and is on a three fight win streak since his loss.
Vasquez is vastly experienced, but looks to be coming to the end of his career, it is nearly six years since he lost his world title and has nine losses overall. The 33-year-old will prove a good test for Ritson but with it being in Newcastle, I feel Ritson will put on a show for the local faithful.
Either points or late stoppage for Ritson."
British super-bantamweight champion
"Lewis Ritson is too fresh and hungry. He's on the up, Vazquez is on the way down.
Ritson to win in the later rounds from 9-12."
British Boxing News Writer
"Vazquez has become a very serviceable gatekeeper who has the potential to give anyone a tough night and even score the upset.
He isn’t as good as he once was but still has an awkward style, slips punches well and does the kind of dirty stuff that you would expect from a 14 year veteran.
Since moving up in weight, Ritson doesn’t look to have the same thudding power that he had at lightweight but still retains all the grit and energy that makes him a handful. He also knows he can’t afford any slip ups at this level if he has ambitions of challenging for world honours, so motivation to impress will be sky-high.
Vazquez will be hard to catch early on and will often make the contest look ugly but I think his lack of power and output will play into Ritson’s hands as the fight goes into the latter rounds.
I pick Ritson to outwork and outhustle Vazquez to a unanimous decision, maybe even a late stoppage."
Welsh Area super-lightweight champion
"I thought he won the Davies fight and Vasquez is a great boxer. However, I see Ritson as having enough in the tank to beat him quite well."