Lewis Ritson showed he is far from finished as he comfortably beat former WBC lightweight champion Dejan Zlaticanin on Probellum’s show in Newcastle. 

Once Ritson was seen as a bit of a banger, but he boxed completely within himself as he dominated Zlaticanin. It could have just been good matchmaking, but Ritson will have ambition to get back in the title picture at super-lightweight. 

Ritson’s career had looked on the rocks after he was stopped by Jeremias Ponce last summer, but if you can sell a ticket there will always be opportunities and, after a confidence boosting win in December, Ritson took a step up against Zlaticanin. 

Zlaticanin is now 37. He is best remembered in the UK for his win over Ricky Burns eight years ago and he was some fighter at that time, going on to break the unbeaten record of Ivan Redkach before claiming the WBC lightweight title by beating Franklin Mamani, although Mikey Garcia took the belt from him seven months later. 

For the first round, Zlaticanin looked like he was here to match Ritson, but as soon as Ritson’s jab found its range, he took total control. He has a big size advantage over the Montenegrin and used it well, beating Zlaticanin to the punch and never getting greedy. 

After softening Zlaticanin up, he began to put a bit more weight behind his shots in the seventh round. But after Zlaticanin whipped a big overhand left past his whiskers, RItson got back on the jab and tightened up. 

The decision was unanimous and wide – Ron Kearney and Phil Edwards had it 100-90, while Terry O’Connor had it 99-91. 

The referee was John Latham. 

Pat McCormack, the Olympic silver medal winner, could scarcely do more on his professional debut as he stopped Justin Menzie in 98 seconds. 

McCormack was levels above late substitute Menzie, who could not match McCormack at anything so just provided target practice. 

After being battered around the ring for a minute, McCormack trapped Menzie and unloaded a body attack that dropped him in pain to the floor. He just about beat the count, but referee Ron Kearney waved it off. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.