It was a disappointing night for the North East, as hometown favourite Lewis Ritson dropped a split decision to Belgian based Italian, Francesco Patera. In truth, Patera fully deserved the win and it would be interesting to see just how the third judge scored so many rounds for Ritson. We here at BBB are as a big fans of Ritson as there are but the best man certainly won in Newcastle.
Following his dominance in winning the Lonsdale belt outright, the Lewis Ritson hype train has understandably gathered immense pace in recent months. While this disappointing result threatens to derail the metaphorical train completely, the reality is that it could prove to be just a stop along the way. It certainly delays Ritson’s charge towards world level but he can take a lot from this chastening experience.
With Ritson’s come forward pressure style, it was always going to take a skilful boxer who could handle his power, to cause him problems. This isn’t hindsight, this was discussed on previous episodes of our podcast. It’s just that Francesco Patera wasn’t supposed to be that man. He is a skilful operator who has experience at European level. It was billed as a step up for Ritson, however not many expected it would be a step too far. At 1/66 to win, Ritson was supposed to deal with Patera, maybe not as quickly as previous foes, and move on. All too often in boxing the best laid plans often go awry.
It’s all too easy to pick apart a boxer after a defeat. There have already been questions about matchmaking, his team and his technical limitations. The easy and obvious retort to those points is to direct to the lack of criticism and questioning pre-fight. European level was a natural step up, Neil Fannan remains a fantastic coach and Lewis’ style (that is now being described as one-dimensional) was cause of much celebration in his emphatic run through domestic opponents.
It is also worth noting that Patera was troubled by the jab and arguably lost the first 4 rounds. From that point on though, he was the busier, more accurate boxer and although he was on the outside for most of the bout he looked sharper throughout. One question we posed before the bout was whether Patera’s lack of punch power would be enough to deter the popular Geordie. If Patera shared our concerns, he hid it well. In reality, he landed the meatier looking shots and one left to the body in the fifth completely took the wind out of the British champion. Patera proved, that there is a significant gap between national and continental level.
At only 25 though, Lewis Ritson has every opportunity to rise again and knowing what type of man he is, we have every confidence he will come again. As for the Italian, he is rightfully looking on towards world honours of his own.
Another North East boxing pioneer endured a frustrating night. Glenn Foot 23-4, was out-boxed and in patches, outworked, by the new British and Commonwealth champion, Robbie Davies Jr. In a fight that shared remarkable similarities with the main event, the North East native couldn’t get his game going over the twelve rounds. With Foot, you know what you are going to get. He looked to feint his way in and unload his vaunted right hand. This basic but often effective tactic worked a treat against Scot Jason Easton, however Davies was just too cute last night. Despite a horrendous looking cut above his left eye, Davies stuck to his game-plan and settled into as much of a rhythm as you can against Foot. It was an unfortunate sign for Foot that he caused more damage accidentally with his head than he did boxing.
Davies, who boxed predominantly as a southpaw, managed to roll and slip out of range of Foot’s backhand all too often as the fight progressed. It was a good display of how to dig in, showing no fear of Foot’s roughhousing, and how to use boxing skills to land the cleaner blows. By the second half of the fight, Foot looked ragged. He smothered a lot of his own work as he looked to close the distance, both in the ring and on the scorecards. When Foot did connect, Davies returned rapid fire to deservedly catch the judges’ eye. Unlike the main event, there was no controversy around the scorecards as Davies ran out a wide unanimous winner, 117-112, 118-110 and 119-109.
The likeable Scouser already holds a high ranking with the WBA and with Matchroom now backing him, the future looks very bright indeed.
Full undercard review is available here.