Lewis Ritson steps up a division at the Copper Box on March 23, live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 12/03/19 1:41pm
Lewis Ritson will move up to the super-lightweight division when he meets Argentina's German Argentino Benitez for the WBA Inter-Continental title at the Copper Box Arena on March 23, live on Sky Sports.
The Newcastle fighter is moving up after the first defeat of his career, against Francesco Patera, with the European lightweight belt at stake.
"Now is the right time to move up to 140lbs," said Ritson, who shone by winning the British lightweight title and defending it three times.
You'll see a different Lewis Ritson with the extra 5lbs to play with. The power will be more telling.
"I probably should have moved up in weight a while ago but I was determined to test myself on the European scene which is why I carried on. There's no excuses from me though about the last fight.
"I've watched the Patera fight back once and I won't be doing so again. It was a terrible performance and some of the mistakes I made on the night are inexcusable, but you live and learn.
"[Coach Neil Fannon] said if I don't get him out of there in the first half of the fight it would be a hard night's work but I went in there with the mentality of just blasting him away early, like I had done to the previous couple of opponents, which was wrong. It's opened my eyes and we've been working on my all-round game since.
"You'll see a different Lewis Ritson with the extra 5lbs to play with. The power will be more telling, we were surprised boiling down to make 135lbs I was getting good kids out of there in that fashion. But that shows I have natural power, which will only show with the extra weight.
"To be fighting for the WBA Inter-Continental title opens some doors right away with a win. I didn't want to be fighting in a six or eight rounder just to feel in to the new weight, or fighting at Commonwealth or British level. That's no disrespect to the lads up in this weight, but I've got the British title on my Dad's mantelpiece so I don't really want to be going over old ground.
"I'm a million miles away from a world title at the minute, but will be keeping an eye on the [Joe Hughes vs Robbie Davies Jr] fight. The European title is something I failed to win, so I would be open to fighting for it down the line if it made sense for all parties.
"Generally, it's a really open division - I've sparred WBA world champion Kiryl Relikh before and after seeing Maurice Hooker's last performance I wouldn't shy away from those if they cropped up down the line. A couple of wins and I could be in the frame which sets me up for a really exciting year."
The bill that Ritson will appear on will be headlined by Charlie Edwards' defence of the WBC flyweight title against Angel Moreno.
Joshua Buatsi faces Liam Conroy for the vacant British light-heavyweight title, while Lawrence Okolie fights Wadi Camacho for the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight belts.
Shannon Courtenay makes her pro debut, and Sean McGoldrick fights for the first time under new trainer Jamie Moore.
Watch Katie Taylor's unification clash with Rose Volante and Tevin Farmer's IBF title fight with Jono Carroll in Philadelphia on Friday, from 11pm on Sky Sports Action.