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Six years ago when Ohara Davies was dropped by Eddie Hearn, it would have been impossible to envisage the controversial super-lightweight getting himself into the position he is in now.

Win against Lewis Ritson tonight, and the 31-year-old will get a world title shot at WBA champion Alberto Puello.

Even more surprisingly, ahead of what has become an archetypal all-British grudge match, he objected to Ritson “talking a whole lot of trash”, warning “I don’t see him lasting more than three or four rounds – Ritson is not someone you need to do anything special for, he’s bang average, he’s nothing special, he just sells a lot of tickets in Newcastle”.

Davies was once himself among the biggest mouths in boxing. In 2017, when he was supposed to be fighting Tommy Coyle – a vocal supporter of the families fighting for justice after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster – Davies took to Twitter to encourage his followers to “Buy The Sun” newspaper. Hearn soon took him off the card and then axed him altogether. Davies later apologised for his comments.

Then came the association with MTK Global, the promotional company founded by alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan. It means Davies will never be a popular figure in most circles, not least against local hero Ritson on Tyneside.

That said, he is more than capable of putting on a show, having only been beaten by dangerous fighters in Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall.

As for Ritson, while he may be skilful and have an impressive boxing IQ, he lacks power – and especially since moving up to 140lbs.

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He has never been quite the same since losing his European title fight to Francesco Patera, and even more so since he was stopped by Jeremias Ponce in 2021.

It makes for a potential chess match in which Ritson will have to withstand some big right hands from Davies and look to go the distance – but well matched as they are, it may not get that far.

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Ritson vs Davies details

  • Date: Sunday 4 March
  • Venue: Newcastle Arena
  • Fight time: Ring walks for the main event are expected around 10pm
  • TV/live stream: You can stream on FITE, with a 7-day free trial or on pay-per-view for $14.99 (£12.48)
  • Undercard highlights: Unbeaten featherweight Thomas Patrick Ward finally has a decent match-up in Otabek Kholmatov in a world title eliminator – but the prize for the winner is an exceptionally difficult test against the dangerous Mauricio Lara
  • i predicts: Lewis Ritson is reasonably priced for what should be a competitive fight, but Ohara Davies is the clear favourite. We’re backing Davies to win by stoppage rounds 7-9

Full card:

  • Lewis Ritson vs. Ohara Davies
  • Thomas Patrick Ward vs. Otabek Kholmatov 
  • Lee McGregor vs Alexis Boureima Kabore 
  • Adam Cope vs. Brayan Mairena 
  • Ewan Mackenzie vs. TBA 
  • Steven Cairns vs. Jakub Laskowski 
  • Ben Rees vs. Konstantin Aleksandrov 
  • Callum Walton vs. Zdenko Bule 

Any other business

  • Brandon Figueroa and Mark Magsayo also fight tonight for the interim WBC flyweight title. The winner will get a shot at Rey Vargas’ belt.
  • Callum Davies has pulled out of his light-heavyweight clash with Pawel Stepien on 11 March through injury.
  • Conor Benn this week broke his silence after being cleared to fight again by the WBC, who ruled his failed drugs test was “not intentional”. Contrary to the reason he was actually cleared, Benn insisted: “At no point did I indicate that I failed any Vada (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) tests because of contaminated eggs.”

By admin