George vs Kelly: Lewis Ritson destroys Paul Hyland Jr in opening round to win British belt outright
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 17/06/18 7:32am
Lewis Ritson ruthlessly stopped Paul Hyland Jr inside one round to win the British title outright on a sensational North East homecoming in Newcastle.
The 24-year-old raised the roof of the Metro Radio Arena on Saturday night after, roared on by a buoyant home crowd, he floored Hyland Jr three times inside the first three minutes forcing the referee to mercifully wave off proceedings.
The victory means local favourite Ritson, who exploded onto the scene less than a year ago, has won the coveted Lonsdale belt for keeps after three destructive defences within four months.
The 'Sandman' came firing out of the blocks and instantly went on the hunt, trapping the unbeaten challenger in the corner and unleashing a crunching uppercut that shook up Hyland Jr.
A big right hand from Ritson then suddenly floored his unsteady counterpart and, from then, the end was already in sight.
The Belfast man got back to his feet and spiritedly engaged in a firefight but he had no match for Ritson's ruthless power and was again down on the canvas after being rocked by another heavy assault.
Once more, Hyland Jr valiantly got up and returned fire with fire but it was to little avail as 'Sandman' found a third knockdown that ended the contest in style.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Ritson said: "Every belt I win will go on my Dad's mantelpiece, not mine. He has trained me since I was eight years old.
"With support like this, Eddie Hearn cannot go anywhere else."
Promoter Hearn added: "He has won the British title outright and, with a city behind him like this, he has all the potential to go all the way.
"I've not seen or heard an atmosphere like that in a long time.
"A star is born tonight in Lewis Ritson. I'd love to see him go all the way and lift a world title."