Lewis Ritson (15-0) defends his British lightweight title to Paul Hyland Jr (18-0) on June 16 in Newcastle.
The 25-year-old champion from Forest Hall is aiming to capture the coveted Lord Lonsdale for keeps in what has been a stunning reign as British ruler, originally landing the crown in October by stopping Robbie Barrett (15-2-1) in the tenth-round in Manchester before the Newcastle ace displayed his awesome power with a first-round demolition against Joe Murray (23-2) last February, then coming out on top in a two-round shootout with former champion Scotty Cardle (22-1-) at The O2 in March.
Belfast’s Hyland Jr is the mandatory challenger for Ritson’s title and will be confident despite being in the away corner, having landed the IBF European lightweight strap exactly a year ago with a stunning first-round KO over Adam Dingsdale (16-3-1) and then defending it successfully against Dublin’s Stephen Ormond (24-4).
The ‘Battle of the Unbeaten’ needs BBN’s panel of experts’ insightful minds to pick out a winner:
Robbie Davies Jr WBA Continental super-lightweight champion
“Seen very little of Paul Hyland Jr, a very capable young fighter. But I think Lewis Ritson is a very determined and strong fighter for lightweight. I can’t see Paul Hyland having enough in his arsenal to keep off a very game and heavy-handed Lewis Ritson off.
Ritson win within first six – TKO.”
Steve Wood VIP Promotions
“Ritson is on a good run and I expect it to continue on Saturday with another stoppage victory.
He is easy to hit but he is both strong and tough, and I cannot see him losing until he steps up above domestic level.”
Tommy Coyle Commonwealth lightweight champion
"Ritson to stop Hyland Jr in the third."
Miles Shinkwin Former Southern Area light-heavyweight champion
“I think Ritson is a beast! Hyland is a very good fighter also but so was Murray and Cardle and they were swept aside.
My pick is for Ritson before halfway.”
Peter Sims Boxing Trainer
“Lewis Ritson for me, possibly a mid to late stoppage. I think he’s a bit fresher and technically better than Hyland Jr.”
Anish Parekh BBN Writer
“I’ve been fortunate to witness two of Lewis Ritson’s victories in person. I remember the crowd looking on, surprised at how he made easy work of former champion Robbie Barrett.
He applied constant, yet intelligent pressure whilst demonstrating fine head and upper-body movement to evade the Yorkshire man’s attacks, before savagely closing the show.
In his bout with Joe Murray, most expected the experienced Mancunian to give Ritson some problems, but brutal body-shots made Murray crumble like a tea-drenched biscuit in the very first-round.
Hyland is on a fine unbeaten run himself, but Ritson appears to my eyes to be the real deal. I think his blend of power and skill will be too much for Hyland and will stop him by the sixth-round, as he continues his ascent through the lightweight division.”
Kevin Campion Promoter and Matchmaker
“I have been really impressed with Ritson, I think he is the most recent breakout star.
This is a really good fight, both boxers have skill, but I think Ritson will come through on points or via late stoppage. I think he carries more power than Hyland Jr and being in his home town I think he will raise the bar that bit higher!”
Tim Rickson Sports Agent
“Both fighters are unbeaten with some very good scalps on their ledgers, plus with Hyland Jr installed as the mandatory challenger by the Board, it makes for a brilliant pick ‘em contest.
Being in his home town as the reigning champion, I just can’t bet against Ritson. That’s not the reason I think he wins, however. He has built up such good momentum, literally sweeping aside Scotty Cardle and Joe Murray which adds up to six straight KO wins in a row, that I think he will win inside the distance yet again.”
Joseph Siza BBN Writer
“This is a cracking fight for the British title. Ritson has real momentum going for him and has looked explosive in his last three outings.
I believe he will be a bit too much for Hyland Jr and will stop him mid to late rounds.”
Justin Johnson Middleweight boxer
"Both good boxers with unbeaten records. Lewis Ritson beating Scotty Cardle is an amazing achievement, but Hyland Jr has also beaten some great prospects.
Gonna' go with Hyland from Belfast, there's something in the sea air over the West, being close by the seaside brings out the storm in these fighters!"
Joe Neale Boxing Agent and Matchmaker
Lewis Ritson looks like he will be very hard to beat at British title level. Last time out Cardle did have Ritson hurt in the first-round when he jumped on him, but he just powered through and stopped Cardle. I see something similar happening here, but Hyland boxing through the early rounds, but do not think that will be enough to derail the powerful and skilled Ritson.
Lewis Ritson by late stoppage."
Daniel Smith BBN Writer
"The two Olympic-fit, 135lb formidable-bangers will clash amidst the square jungle in an exhilirating, high-voltage and fast-paced British Lightweight title bout, where only the toughest and resilent can emerge victorious.
One British champion, one challenger, but ultimately two unbeaten, voracious scrapping bull terriers, both amply prepared and equipped to ferociously battle it out and endure ugly weathers ahead over 12 rounds of boxing. Both men will share the desire, determination and intention of taking home the belt!!
The showdown will be aired live on Sky Sports and promises to be a gritty, 'getting stuck in', toe-to-toe fight, embellished with rapid and solid pounding exchanges of leather - a real super-charged and electric match-up that's definitely not to be missed by boxing fans.
This one's an extremely close fight to call, however, the British champion, Lewis 'Sandman' Ritson's blistering combinations and heavy punching power may just prove all too much for the hardboiled Irishman of 18-0and win by stoppage in the later rounds or a majority decision may be on the cards for Ritson, furthering a step closer to a world title shot and extending an unblemished record to 16 wins and 0 losses."