Ritson vs Patera: Lewis Ritson's dream fight at St James' Park can happen in 2019, says Eddie Hearn
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 12/10/18 12:31pm
Lewis Ritson can take another step towards a St James' Park fight next year if he wins the European title, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
The Newcastle lightweight will battle Francesco Patera for the European belt in front of a packed out Metro Radio Arena in his hometown on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
Hearn is keen to deliver a "dream" night for Ritson at Newcastle United's 52,000 seated stadium, provided that he continues his climb towards a world title fight.
"We're so lucky at the moment in British boxing that we're even talking about it," Hearn told Sky Sports. "Callum Smith won the world title recently. We'd like him to return home to Anfield in May.
"Lewis Ritson can fill St James' Park for a world-title fight. He's done 9,000 for a European title fight.
"We've seen Kell Brook boxing at Bramall Lane, Anthony Joshua at the Millennium Stadium and Wembley. These dreams can become reality. You just have to keep winning, you have to keep progressing, and being involved in those big world level fights.
"From what I've seen in Newcastle, there's no reason why St James' Park couldn't become a reality in 2019."
Alan Shearer has already pledged his support to Ritson, who sought advice from the former England and Newcastle striker ahead of a crucial clash with Patera.
"He's a north east legend, a Newcastle No 9," said Ritson.
"He says he's going to be one of the first ones to chant the 'Toon, Toon, black and white army', so it's all good, and I cannot wait.
"He's given us a bit of advice, and I'll stick to it. He's just said it's hard to get to the top, even tougher to stay there. Got to keep your head on it, and no distractions."
His Belgian opponent, a former European champion, has never been stopped, but Ritson believes he can produce another knockout win in front of his local support.
"I've seen him do a couple of interviews saying that he's not going to stand and trade, which is probably clever on his part," said the 25-year-old, who has already won the British belt outright.
"I'm expecting a hard fight, for him to use his experience, and for him to try to go the 12 rounds. We're going to try and get him out of there."
Watch Lewis Ritson's European title fight against Francesco Patera in Newcastle, with Joshua Buatsi and David Allen also on the bill at the Metro Radio Arena, Saturday, from 7pm on Sky Sports Action.