Jeremias Ponce Outworks Lewis Ritson For The IBF Mandatory Spot!
WBA #2 and IBF #6 ranked junior welterweight Lewis “The Sandman” Ritson returned to get closer to a title shot against IBF #5 ranked contender and former IBO champ Jeremias Ponce. The winner of this bout will be considered the IBF mandatory but is rumored to face Puerto Rican contender Subriel Matias in another eliminator next.
At one point, Ritson’s name was synonymous with names like Josh Taylor, Josh Kelly, Joe Cordina, etc. as one of the United Kingdom’s brightest young fighters. However, an unforeseen setback against top European contender Francesco Patera in October 2018 quickly halted those talks! Nevertheless, he has since shown to still be a top contender, winning four straight since the loss.
The biggest victory of the run came against fellow countryman Robbie Davies Jnr who British fans had similar expectations for his career. Furthermore, many of them felt he would beat Ritson. But ” The Sandman” showed an ability to stay focused and made minor adjustments when needed (something he was unable to do against Patera) to win the fight comfortably.
Although, the credit would be short-lived. In October 2020, Ritson took home a split-decision victory against shop-worn former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez. He once again showed his inability to adjust and his tendency to be inconsistent. Some fans believe he actually should have lost!
27 fights and six years into his professional career, this will mark only the third fight for Ponce outside of his native Argentina. However, he does not fit the normal stereotype for fighters who rarely fight outside of their home countries. Those fighters typically struggle or get embarrassed as soon as they step foot out of their homeland. But Ponce has shown he can fight!
Ponce has a pretty good ring I.Q and likes to utilize his jab to setup opportunities for the knockout. Also, the left hook to the body is his signature punch as it has finished opponents off in the past. He is expected to bring the same problems Ritson’s former conqueror in Patera was able to provide, but with power!
Although his resume is littered with names many probably cannot pronounce, he does have an edge on Ritson in terms of pro accolades. In September 2019, he wont he IBO junior welterweight title in Germany over Rico Mueller. This immediately put him in discussions with the four major sanctioning bodies as a viable contender.
PONCE “THE PROBLEM!”
In the opening round, Ponce showed why regardless of his resume, he would prove to be a problem in this fight. Furthermore, Ritson did not look comfortable. He would move in on the inside of Ponce, looking to load up on a big shot one punch at a time. The Argentinian doesn’t have a reputation of wearing a weak chin, so it was unclear as to why Ritson felt one shot could end the night. Especially when Ponce was delivering high-octane volume.
At around the two-minute mark, it looked as if the volume would be too much. A signature left-hook backed Ritson up and he went into a defensive posture. Ponce would put on a fierce display of flurries in an attempt to get the referee to jump in and stop the bout. However, The Sandman didn’t actually look hurt but seemed to not want to get hit flush given Ponce’s punching power.
Regardless, this definitely was not a good start for the Brit and things did not get any better for the duration of the bout. Ritson did find opportunities to land the straight right as Ponce would step in to deliver a combination but he did not follow up. This mainly due to the shot not really effecting the Argentinian who would always respond with a combination that would put his opponent back on the defensive.
PUTTING A STAMP ON DOMINANCE
In essence, Ritson could not keep up with the pace Ponce dictated for this fight. Throwing loads of punches continuously round after round without losing stamina was a bit too much for The Sandman.
Seconds after the opening of the tenth round, a body shot put Ritson to his knees. He beat the count but looked as if he didn’t catch his wind. As the referee signaled for the fight to continue, Ponce rushed forward with another flurry. In the midst of it, RIston’s father, Davey Ritson threw the towel into the ring. However per the rules of the contest, the referee threw the towel back out of the ring and allowed The Sandman to continue.
Shortly after, another shot would put the Brit on his knee again. His father looked on completely unhappy as his son rose to beat the count again. Ponce made sure to get this fight stopped with one last flurry that put Ritson down for a third time. At this moment, the referee finally decided to waive the bout off.
This was a remarkable win for Ponce especially since the majority of boxing fans had no idea who he is. They certainly know now as he cements his spot as the IBF mandatory for champion Josh Taylor. Whether he gets a title shot or has to fight Matias in another eliminator, Ponce definitely deserves a world-class challenge next!
By: EJ Williams