Lewis Ritson will clash with former long-reigning World Champion Miguel Vazquez 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 (20-1, 12 KOs) 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.
Tough Mexican Vazquez (42-9, 16 KOs) previously held the IBF Lightweight World Title for four years, making six defences of the title in that time, before losing to Mickey Bey via a controversial split decision in Las Vegas.
“He’s obviously been there and done it and got the t-shirt,” said Ritson. ‘’He is a world-class fighter who has fought at the very top level of the sport and continues to do so, I need to be on my A-game to get the win here.
“That’s the sort of fights we need now to get the best experience at that level. Get past Vazquez and I’m knocking on the door.
“Vazquez can do a bit of everything. He’s awkward, he can fight, he can box, but whatever he brings to the table, we’ll have to adapt to that and work out a way to beat him.
“We cannot look past him, there’s a lot riding on it, but if we get the win over Vazquez then it could lead to a World Title shot down the line.”
“I think Ritson is a very strong fighter and I am expecting a very hard fight,” said Vazquez. “This fight will be very entertaining and it is a good fight for both of us, the fans will certainly leave happy.
“I think not only in Newcastle but across the UK fans will be supporting Lewis because they want another champion in the future, but I also want to be a champion again so because of this, I feel this is a really intriguing fight.
“I know that Lewis will be very well prepared and anything could happen. I will prepare as I need to, in order to win this fight on April 4.”
Hartlepool star Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs), Britain’s first-ever female amateur World Champion, attempts to win a professional World Title in just her ninth fight when she faces New Zealand’s WBO Light-Heavyweight ruler Geovana Peres (8-1, 1 KO).
Dillian Whyte’s fast-rising Heavyweight protégé Fabio Wardley (8-0, 7 KOs) lands his first professional title shot as he steps up to take on Middlesbrough hard-man Simon Vallily (17-2-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant English belt.
Undefeated Super-Bantamweight slickster Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0, 4 KOs) takes another step in his seemingly unstoppable rise to a World Title after notching four wins in 2019 and cementing his place in the top 10 of the WBO and IBF rankings at 122lbs.
Glasgow Bantamweight contender Kash Farooq (13-1, 6 KOs) fights for the first time under the Matchroom Boxing banner as he targets a highly-anticipated rematch with British and Commonwealth Champion Lee McGregor following his controversial loss in November.
Some of the best up-and-coming talent in the North East feature on a bumper undercard with action for Benwell Welterweight Joe Laws (8-0, 4 KOs), Newcastle Super-Lightweight Terry Wilkinson (8-0), Wallsend Welterweight April Hunter (2-0), Bedlington Super-Lightweight Darren Reay (7-0-2, 1 KO) and Spennymoor Super-Welterweight Chad Ellis (9-0).
“I can’t wait to be back in Newcastle, it’s become an absolute must on the boxing calendar,” said Eddie Hearn. “After his FOTY contender with Robbie Davies Jr, Lewis Ritson is straight back in the deep end against former World Lightweight king Miguel Vazquez as he continues his quest to challenge for a World Title in 2020.
“Britain’s Savannah Marshall looks to continue the run for women’s boxing as she moves up in weight to challenge for the WBO Light-Heavyweight World Title against champion Geovana Peres and World number 3 Thomas Patrick Ward looks to continue his impressive rise.
“There is a great domestic Heavyweight battle as Dillian Whyte’s charge Fabio Wardley takes on Simon Vallily for the English title and the talented Kash Farooq returns to title action. The Benwell Bomber Joe Laws will once again light up the Newcastle Arena and with further additions to be added, we expect another electric atmosphere in the North East.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing Development, said: “We can’t wait to head back to Newcastle for another red-hot atmosphere as local hero Lewis Ritson returns against Miguel Vazquez. Ritson produced a classic domestic clash with Robbie Davies Jr but now tests himself against Mexico’s Vazquez, a classy technician.
“On another action-packed night in the northeast, Savannah Marshall is targeting a World Title triumph, just a few weeks after fellow Brit Terri Harper was crowned as WBC Champion, and Fabio Wardley is one to watch in the Heavyweight division. We’re ready to hear the Ritson roar in Newcastle!”