By Elliot Foster
Lewis Ritson only boxed at the back end of last month –– but the North East star will be back in action again in a few weeks’ time.
The 24-year-old blasted away Joe Murray inside a round at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on February 25 to successfully retain his British lightweight title.
And Ritson will don the gloves again on March 24, exclusively live on Sky Sports, as he aims to make the second defence of his crown at the O2 Arena in London.
He will face Scott Cardle, the former champion who he had been set to face last month before coming up against Murray, on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s WBC Silver heavyweight title defence against Lucas Browne.
Cardle was dethroned by Robbie Barrett last year and Ritson then stopped the Yorkshire southpaw to become known as the best man domestically in the 135-pound division.
“I've made a couple of statements now by beating Barrett and then Murray –– and I want to do it again against Cardle,” said Ritson when the news was confirmed.
“We wanted the Cardle fight in Manchester but he pulled out. Scotty wants the title back and he's in a similar position to Joe Murray was where he really needs to win the fight but if he gets beat, where does he go? So that should make it a really good fight.
“Domestic level could be described as European level really as the lads at lightweight like Scotty and Sean Dodd are top fighters.”
After his win against Murray, Ritson expressed his desire to face either Sean Dodd or Tommy Coyle.
The pair contest ‘Masher’s’ Commonwealth title at nine-stone nine on April 21 at the ECHO Arena in Liverpool, as part of the undercard to Amir Khan’s long-awaited return against Phil Lo Greco.
But Ritson must get past a bullish Cardle, 28, before he can focus on that fight.
He added: “I've sparred with all the top names like Ricky Burns, Anthony Crolla, Kiryl Relikh and of course Cardle –– so boxing people know what I can do and now that I'm with Eddie and Matchroom on Sky Sports, the public are getting to see what I can do too.
“I've been on small hall shows in the past and now I'm headlining on Sky Sports and heading to the O2 Arena on a big show –– it's amazing and I'm working hard to make sure that this is just the beginning.”
Cardle was impressed with his future foe last time out –– but he has reiterated the reason behind taking the fight this time around.
“Lewis showed against Murray what he can do,” he said. “He's a deserved British champion but obviously I believe that he's just holding that belt for me to take it from him. He's an honourable guy so hats off to him for fighting me next, anyone that knows me knows that I didn't show up against Barrett in Glasgow, what he did to Robbie is what I could've done, but I wasn't myself that night. No excuses –– I wasn't good enough.
“I've had a six-rounder since that fight but this is the one I want. I need to get that title back and show that I am the best in Britain.
“Joe Gallagher was in Germany with Callum Smith so the preparation wasn't right to do it in Manchester, but I'll be fully prepared for March 24 and ready to get my belt back.”
The British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight titles are at stake on the same card when Frank Buglioni takes on Callum Johnson, while there is action for Dereck Chisora and Anthony Fowler.
Further additions to the undercard will be revealed in due course.