There was a sandstorm in Peterborough as the Toons favourite son Lewis Ritson (20-1-0 KO 12) took a highly questionable split decision victory over the former IBF Lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez (42-9-0 KO 16).
Vazquez seemingly outworked and outmanoeuvred the hometown favourite, and had seemingly comprehensively outboxed him, but it was not to be as Terry O’Connor had the fight 117-111, Michael Alexander scored it 115-113, whereas Marcus McDonnell had it the more sane scorecard of 116-113 to Vazquez.
Ritson was hoping for a better performance than his beloved Newcastle United gave as they went down 4-1 to Man United earlier in the day and it didn’t get off to the best of starts as the Mexican moved well on his feet and kept busy with three or four punch bursts as the sandman followed him around the ring.
Ritson didn’t offer much of anything in the opening four rounds as he was continuously beaten to the punch and outmanoeuvred by the much more experienced Vazquez who has been in with the likes of Canelo Alvarez twice, Timothy Bradley and Josh Taylor.
In the fifth, Ritson began to come out of his defensive shell and let his fists fly a little bit more, but Vazquez looked calm and relaxed and fired back with shots of his own as the round came to a close.
Trainer Dave Coldwell tweeted out at the end of the sixth that he had it ‘5-1 Vazquez at the halfway point’ and it was hard to disagree, Ritson wasn’t looking good and the away fighter looked fluid and was keeping busy enough to keep the Geordie at bay without ever seriously hurting him.
The fight was getting away from the home fighter as we trickled into the eighth and it was beginning to be clear that he may have to throw caution to the wind and look for something big. There was no urgency however from the Ritson corner, despite the fact their man was losing handily, and by the tenth it seemed that Ritson needed a knockout to win; it was proving hard to find a round he had won.
Ritson looked slightly better in the tenth but failed to really put a dent in Vazquez. The toon favourite had his gumshield knocked out with a lovely Vazquez jab in the eleventh and was persistently picked off with Vazquez’s shots as the round ticked onwards.
Matt Macklin had it 108-101 to Vazquez as we came into the final round and their was no urgency shown in the final round for the Toon man, who was either deludedly thinking he was ahead or just couldn’t spur himself to try and finish strong. After the contest Ritson's trainer Neil Fannon absurdly told Ritson that he didn’t give Vazquez many rounds - which screamed delusion - and left the commentators perplexed and asking whether they had watched a completely different fight.
But the biggest surprise was to come as Ritson had his hand raised via split decision which felt like a complete robbery from the fight that everyone bar Ritson and his team had seen.
Eddie Hearn, promoter of Lewis Ritson, tweeted out after the fight that he had the Mexican winning as he tweeted “Watching from home and felt Vazquez deserved to win there.”
It’s sad to see that results like this are becoming more and more frequent within the British game, the worst thing is, it wasn’t even a surprise. It was a dark result for pugilistic lovers as the clear winner became the unlucky loser, but how long until this result is just swept under the carpet and forgotten like most others.