Can the Geordie native win the European Lightweight title in front of his adoring fans?
Lewis Ritson takes on Francesco Patera in Newcastle on Saturday for the vacant European Lightweight belt. Patera is a Belgian Italian with a record of 19-3, all of his losses coming by decision having never been stopped. However, his record suggests he’s likely to be out of his depth against Ritson, with no notable victories and all of his losses coming to average competition. If Ritson is as good as many think he is, then he should be comfortably dealing with Patera.
Patera is capable, even if overmatched in this fight, and has a rangy, awkward style with a long reach. He presents Ritson with a different challenge to his previous bouts and it would be very surprising if Patera came out looking to fight fire with fire as other fighters have done, unsuccessfully, against Ritson. Patera’s only hope is to use his range to try and keep Ritson off him and move around the ring. Whether he can do that for long is highly dubious.
In the last year, since winning the British title against Robbie Barret, Ritson has demonstrated what a few boxing insiders in the North East have known for while – that he is very, very good. His power at lightweight is frightening and the pressure he puts fighters under has proven too much for solid, respectable and experienced British fighters. There is an argument to say Patera is almost a step down compared to the fighters Ritson beat to retain the British title (Murray, Cardle & Hyland Jr) and Ritson, who is on a run of 8 stoppage wins on the bounce, looks set to continue that form. Of those 8 stoppages, only 2 come past the 6th (both in the 7th) and the rest are all in the 4th round or earlier.
Patera, as mentioned before, has never been stopped and is tall, rangy lightweight. However, he’s never shared the ring with anyone close to Ritson’s quality and expect to see his first stoppage loss come this weekend. Ritson is a very strong body puncher, which can be very effective against a taller opponent. It’s likely that Ritson will be looking to hurt Patera’s midriff from the outset and break him down in a matter of rounds. Ritson to win in rounds 1-6 at 11/10 looks like a good banker for this fight.
To complement the group round bet, a couple of round picks can add a bit more in the way of return. Round 4 is 10/1 with Ladbrokes or William Hill and round 3 11/1 with Ladbrokes. Finishes in those rounds are in keeping with Ritson’s current destructive form. In the build-up Ritson has talked of his desire to get Patera out inside the distance, but suggested it may take a bit longer this fight.
By Ritson’s current standards anything past the 1st round can be classed as “a bit longer” and with a sell-out arena full of Geordies and Ritson’s natural search and destroy instincts, a continuation of early stoppages for the “Geordie Golovkin” looks likely.