United le­gend back­ing Rit­son for Euro glory

The Chronicle - - Safc -

IT is the Match of the Day, no ques­tion, and so it is to­tally right Alan Shearer should be at the cen­tre of a clas­sic Ge­ordie oc­ca­sion.

In­ter­na­tional fort­night means a free week­end for the Beeb’s top foot­ball man and he is to spend it this Satur­day night ring­side when Lewis Rit­son goes for broke at­tempt­ing to add the Euro­pean light­weight ti­tle to the Lons­dale Belt he hs al­ready won out­right as Bri­tish cham­pion.

Rit­son and Shearer go to­gether like fish and chips. Bread and but­ter. Good wine and cheese. Why? Think about it...

Shearer was Rit­son’s boy­hood hero, as he was for so many young Ge­ordies in his pomp as United’s finest ever leg­endary No 9.

Rit­son, a proud Ge­ordie and gen­uine Mag­pie, fights in black-and­white striped shorts and wears the New­cas­tle United club badge, hav­ing re­ceived of­fi­cial bless­ing af­ter an ini­tial hic­cup over its le­gal­ity.

Lke the mas­ter be­fore him, Rit­son played for Wallsend Boys Club as a clever young mid­fielder be­fore box­ing, in which his fam­ily are steeped, took over from all else and flash­ing fists cat­a­pulted him towards in­ter­na­tional star­dom.

Iron­i­cally, the boys club which played such a big part in the young lives of Shearer and Rit­son held their an­nual sell-out din­ner last night when an­other fa­mous old boy, Manch­ester United’s Michael Car­rick, was pay­ing homage.

So im­pressed is Shearer by the Ge­ordie kid in the hard­est of pro­fes­sions he is at­tend­ing his first box­ing show live at the New­cas­tle Arena promis­ing to lead the rau­cous cho­ruses of Blay­don Races as Rit­son does his ring walk.

The at­mos­phere in­side Ty­ne­side’s Arena was elec­tric in June for the Sand­man’s Bri­tish ti­tle de­fence but he will now have his foot­balling hero in his cor­ner as he chal­lenges for the Euro­pean ti­tle against Francesco Pat­era.

Pro­moter Ed­die Hearn, who can make moun­tains move in box­ing, has promised Lewis he can land a world ti­tle fight at his beloved St James’ Park next year should he de­feat Pat­era and take a huge step along the road to ul­ti­mate star­dom.

He said: “We have seen Kell Brook box­ing at Bra­mall Lane, An­thony Joshua at the Mil­len­nium Sta­dium and Wem­b­ley. “These dreams can be­come re­al­ity. You just have to keep win­ning, you have to keep pro­gress­ing and be­ing in­volved in those big worldlevel fights. “From what I have seen in New­cas­tle, there is rea­son why St no

Lewis Rit­son af­ter be­com­ing Bri­tish light­weight cham­pion last year James’ Park could not be­come a re­al­ity in 2019.”

Rit­son has done 9,000 for a Euro­pean fight tonight and if he can ar­rive on the doorstep of be­com­ing Ty­ne­side’s only sec­ond world cham­pion af­ter Glenn McCrory then St James’ Park is within his com­pass.

What makes Rit­son stand out in a bru­tal pro­fes­sion is he has heavy hands. Real box-of­fice fight­ers carry a knock­out punch and our For­est Hall boy does that.

Now what is re­quired is for him to prove he can also carry the bur­den of true pres­sure.

The weight of ex­pec­ta­tion from his peo­ple, from the pres­ence of his hero, from the size of the ti­tles and the in­ter­est of a world-renowned pro­moter like Ed­die Hearn who has steered Joshua to un­told heights.

He may also re­quire the abil­ity to re­sist rush­ing the job to ap­pease those who de­mand an early and explosive fin­ish be­cause as each rung of the lad­der is climbed the im­me­di­ate task be­fore him will in­evitably be­come tougher.

Lewis Rit­son is a young man who shuns the trap­pings of true fame.

He does not seek the spot­light out­side of the ring. That could and should take him a long way.

We all cer­tainly hope so. Be­cause LR is one of us!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.