By Luke Madeira
Manchester - Lewis Ritson defended his British lightweight title in devastating fashion as he stopped the brave Joe Murray in a round.
Both men started sharply at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, but a thunderous body shot left Murray wincing on the canvas in the early stages of the opener in the 12-round top-of-the-bill contest, which was screened exclusively live on Sky Sports as part of the latest instalment of the JDNXTGEN series.
The Murray family are known for their heart, and not many men would have got up from the shot.
After another knock down and a final barrage from ‘Sandman’ Ritson, who has expressed an interest in fighting the winner of Sean Dodd’s Commonwealth title defence against Tommy Coyle at lightweight, which takes place at Liverpool’s ECHO Arena on April 21, referee Howard Foster was forced to stop the contest, leaving Murray in tears in the corner.
“I would love to fight the winner of Masher and Coyle,” Ritson told Sky Sports afterwards. “We know they are fighting and we will have to wait and see, but I would like to unify the domestic division before moving on.
“We were expecting a long hard fight tonight, but we didn't get one did we?
“Murray had been saying in interviews that he'd had more knockouts than I've had wins.
“Well, you saw what I can do."
Jordan Gill (19-0, 4KOs) made a big statement on TV as he took a step closer to a title fight with a victory over Jason Cunningham (23-5, 6KOs).
The first couple of rounds began in a cagey fashion and Gill became marked up around his left eye.
The fight spring into action in the fourth, a perfectly timed uppercut putting Cunningham on the canvas.
Despite looking a beaten man, Cunningham dug deep and took over the contest as it came to a close.
The onslaught came too late for Cunningham, however, and Gill took the victory on all three judges’ scorecards by margins of 98-91, 97-92 and 98-90.