By Chris Williamson, photo by Lawrence Lustig
O2 Arena, London - British champion Lewis ‘Sandman' Ritson underlined his dominance of the domestic lightweight division with a thrilling second round stoppage win over former champ Scott Cardle here at London’s O2 arena.
Cardle set a ferocious pace winning the first round, landing with several jarring hooks and uppercuts before the champion steadied himself and landed a terrific left hook to register a knockdown in the second.
Ritson is vicious when he smells blood and a series of follow up hooks had Cardle wobbling and prompted his trainer Joe Gallagher to throw in the towel as the referee signalled the end of a breathtaking shootout.
The 24-year-old North East champion had annihilated Joe Murray in the opening stanza two months ago and has just one more successful defence to notch up and the prized Lord Lonsdale belt is his for keeps.
Cardle, who held this belt this time last year losing it in April to a majority decision loss to Robbie Barrett, faces a tough climb back. Ritson moves to 15-0 and with performances like this looks a future star. Promoter Eddie Hearn said afterwards that he expects Ritson to go all the way.
Also on the card, Scouse super-welterweight Anthony Fowler continued his education in the professional ranks with an excellent fifth round stoppage over previously unbeaten Frenchman Kalilou Dembele (now 6-1-2).
Fowler dropped the Frenchman with a short left hook in the second and hammered Dembele to the body with crunching rib shots. Several times the brave visitor blew a stream of blood from his nose, before the finish at the start of the fifth as amateur star Fowler landed a lovely right uppercut to end the fight.
It was Dembele’s first bout outside French soil, while the busy Fowler is scheduled to be out again next month on home soil on the bill headlined by Amir Khan. ’The Machine’ suggested afterwards that the KO was premature but a blessing in disguise for the visitor.