|Lewis Ritson will defend his WBA Inter-Continental Super-Lightweight Title against Mexico’s former long-reigning World Champion Miguel Vazquez on Saturday October 17, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.
Ritson (20-1, 12 KOs) was originally slated to face Vazquez (42-9, 16 KOs) on April 4 in Newcastle before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the sporting world on its head and the event was postponed until a later date.
The Geordie favourite 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.
Vazquez 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, and will provide a tough test for 26-year-old Ritson.
Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) meets Glasgow’s former World Champion Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World Title – she was originally down to face New Zealand's WBO Light-Heavyweight ruler Geovana Peres before the pandemic hit.
Also on the card, exciting Welterweight prospect Joe ‘Benwell Bomber’ Laws (9-0, 5 KOs) looks to progress to 10-0, 2016 Rio Olympian Qais Ashfaq (8-0, 3 KOs) returns in a Super-Bantamweight contest, Glasgow Bantamweight talent Kash Farooq (13-1, 6 KOs) makes his debut as a Matchroom fighter and West Rainton’s Thomas Patrick Ward (29-0, 4 KOs) resumes his World Title charge.
“I've had no time off,” said Ritson. “I've been in the gym the full year training hard, staying ready and waiting for a date to be confirmed. Nothing has really changed and now it’s full steam ahead for October 17.
“If I bring my A game then I'll be very hard to beat and that’s what I'm planning on doing. We know what Miguel Vazquez is all about, he’s going to be a real test for me. I’ve had top level sparring with the likes of Josh Taylor that has kept me fresh.
“Once I get the win on October 17 I’m going to have a week off and then get straight back in the gym. I want to fight again by the end of the year, hopefully Eddie can keep the big fights coming. I want to keep pushing towards that WBA World Title, that’s the main goal for me.”
“I'm so happy that I have a fight date set in stone,” said Marshall. “It’s been a while, but I’m excited to be back in the ring. Hannah Rankin is a former IBO World Champion, so I’m expecting a tough hard fight against her but it's one that I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s been a long road for me, so it would be incredible to become World Champion. It’s crazy to think I was meant to be fighting for a World Title in April at Light-Heavyweight and this is now at Middleweight, but that’s female boxing and you have to take these opportunities when they come.”
“This fight has been in the back of my mind since it was first talked about in February,” said Rankin. “I have proven time and time again I’m willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and that’s the foundation my career has been built on.
“For this fight I’ll be stepping up to Middleweight and I’m relishing the chance to become a two-time two-weight World Champion having already held the IBO Super-Welterweight Title.
“With regards to Savannah, I’m excited for my chance to end the hype; as a professional she’s yet to be tested. On October 17 I will be crowned WBO World Middleweight Champion and I’ll be bringing that title back to Scotland. Scotland vs. England is always a fun clash in any sport!”