Forest Hall’s Lewis Ritson claimed the Northern Area title courtesy of a seventh round stoppage of old foe Jordan Ellison at Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday night.
Aiming to add to his existing WBC Youth Silver lightweight honour, title favourite Ritson (12-0-0 6KO) proved too strong for Sunderland’s Ellison (6-9-0 1KO) in the nights main event, with the referee stopping the bout after the Wearside fighter was dropped to the canvas for a second time.
The first encounter between the pair last year ended with a dominant points victory for Ritson and round one of the rematch began in similar fashion.
Newcastle-born Ritson asserted his dominance in the opening stanza with a stiff jab, doubling it up at any given opportunity to take control of the centre of the ring.
Ellison replied with straight shots of his own but found a tight Ritson defence difficult to penetrate.
The opening quarter of the fight saw the Tynesider continuously march Ellison to the corner, retreating to devastating body shots and crippling right hooks.
Although on the back foot, Ellison showed flashes of promise, with the Seaham boxer troubling his unbeaten opponent with well timed head shots and a stiff jab.
Round six began with more Ellison pressure and the crowd sensed a potential shift in momentum.
Yet within the opening minute the Hartlepool-based fighter was on the canvas; a stinging body shot from the Sandman immediately dropping his rival.
A brave Ellison rose to his feet, only to be floored again and although appearing hurt, the referee acknowledged the incident as a slip and the battle continued.
The Seaham lightweight survived until the bell but returned to his corner in visible pain.
Clearly inspired by his opponents grimace, Ritson was urged on by his corner and was relentless in his attack to the body of Ellison.
Multiple rights to the midriff of his opponent from the title favourite forced Ellison down for a second time.
Unable to beat the count, and requiring medical attention at the conclusion of the referee’s ten count, Ellison fell to defeat for the 9th time in his professional career while newly crowned champion Ritson marched on unbeaten.
Fortunately the Sunderland fighter was able to recover in time to congratulate Ritson in the centre of the ring as the crowd showed their appreciation for a tremendously entertaining fight.
The Sandman closed the evenings show by raising the Northern Area title, with the expectations firmly on the Forest Hall man to make a statement in 2017.