Lewis Ritson and Miguel Vazquez went head-to-head on Thursday ahead of their super-lightweight clash in England this weekend.
Here’s what they and the undercard fighters had to say:
Lewis Ritson – Forest Hall, England – 20-1, 12 KOs – fighting Miguel Vazquez for the WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title:
“We need to get past Vazquez, he’s our main focus. We’re not looking past Saturday. If we can get past him, and we’re confident that we can, then we’ll start looking at those other big names. I think I’ll put an even better performance on behind closed doors with no pressure on my shoulders. When I first saw him at the first press conference, I thought he looked massive. Now he looks quite skinny, quite frail, to be fair, but we’ll see on Saturday night what he comes to bring. We know that we’ll bring our A-game.
Asked if he is nearing world class, Ritson said: “Very close. Sparring is sparring, it’s totally different when you get in there and fight, so you can’t really take much off sparring, but if you did off the sparring, we’d be very happy with where we are and where we can end up. Get past this, hopefully the lockdown eases down, and we’ll get back to Newcastle and in front of a packed crowd and some big fights to come.”
Miguel Vazquez – Guadalajara, Mexico – 42-9, 16 KOs – fighting Lewis Ritson for the WBA Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title:
“We have been training for this fight for a long long time. Obviously it got delayed, but we have been ready for this fight for a long time and I’m up against a really tough fighter in Lewis Ritson. It is a great opportunity for me. It is a really big fight for me and it’s not going to be an easy one at all which is why I have been preparing as hard as I possibly can for this. When people watch the fight they can expect to see a Miguel Vazquez that is prepared to go on to become a World Champion again. I’m ready to win. All the fights that I’ve had have enabled me to get to where I am now. It was a great experience fighting against Canelo. But all of the people I’ve faced during my period as World Champion as well were important for my career.”
Qais Ashfaq – Leeds, England – 8-0, 3 KOs – fighting Marc Leach in a Final Eliminator for the British Super-Bantamweight Title:
“It has been amazing. I feel like I’m coming on leaps and bounds with Angel Fernandez and the team in Loughborough. I’m looking forward to showing what I’m about on Saturday night. Get this fight out of the way on Saturday and get a good stylish win, and then move on and win that British Title. I’m part of a fresh new team, coaching as well as management. I believe it has freshened me up in many ways and I’m learning things that are going to show on Saturday. I look forward to showing the improvements. The management team will drive me in the right direction. I’m learning a lot in the gym now. My improvements in the gym have been huge. The facilities at Loughborough University are unbelievable, we have everything that we need.”
Marc Leach – Salford, England – 14-1-1, 3 KOs – fighting Qais Ashfaq in a Final Eliminator for the British Super-Bantamweight Title:
“We’ve sparred each other over the years so we know a bit about each other. I’m just going to take every round as it comes and perform to the best I can. I feel a bit stronger. As everyone knows, the last two or three pounds is the hardest to make. I haven’t had to do that this time so I’m feeling fit and strong. I can’t wait now. Jamie is my coach and he had the British Title. I’m bringing it back to Salford where it belongs. My weight or the weight above, I just need the opportunity to fight on shows like these. Thanks to Qais and everyone else for accepting it. It’s going to be a bit cagey as we know each other so well but I think I’ll win on points.”
Joe Laws – Benwell, England – 9-0, 5 KOs – fighting Rylan Charlton in a six round Super-Lightweight contest:
“I’m going to knock him out, flatten him. I’m a product of where I come from. But sometimes, at the weekends, it can be too comfortable to nip out and see my friends. I’m at a stage of my career where the fights will start getting harder. Lanzarote takes me out of my comfort zone.
“I’m a passionate kid. If I box, fight or play scrabble I am a passionate kid. I’m going to flatten him. I’m throwing with intent to hurt. He’s training to knock me out, know what I mean? Once I get in the ring, it’s personal. Come Saturday I will show no respect whatsoever.”
Rylan Charlton – Norwich, England – 5-0-1, 2 KOs – fighting Joe Laws in a six round Super-Lightweight contest
“He’s good at doing the talking, I’m good at doing the beating up. There isn’t much pressure on me. Joe is used to having a crowd behind him and there won’t be a crowd. All the pressure is on Joe! I’m going in there to do a job and this the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.”
Thomas Patrick Ward – West Rainton, England – 29-0, 4 KOs – fighting Thomas Essomba in a ten round Super-Bantamweight contest:
“I’m ready to go. Obviously there was a change of opponent but our training regime doesn’t change at all. It doesn’t matter who we’re fighting, we train hard, give 100% and remain ready and focused. I’m ready to go on Saturday night. Every fight has to be won. It doesn’t matter what the calibre of the opponent is. I was supposed to fight Garcia who is ranked in the WBO. That would have pushed me on to get a World Title shot. We’re still pushing for them World Titles. I believe I’m ready to fight any of those World Champions. I believe I’ll beat any of them. I’m ready to take on the full division but we’ve got a fight on our hands on Saturday night.”
Thomas Essomba – Wolverhampton, England – 10-6, 4 KOs – fighting Thomas Patrick Ward in a ten round Super-Bantamweight contest:
“First of all I want to say thank you for the opportunity. I fought as recently as August. I think that will help me in this fight. I didn’t expect to fight this soon after that. The notice they gave me was very short but I believe the camp I had for my last fight is going to help me for this fight. I will find the solution to win. Every fight is important for me. The opportunity to fight Tommy is a big one for me.”
Ellie Scotney – Catford, England – making her professional debut in a six round Super-Bantamweight
“I’m just grateful to be given this opportunity in the circumstances. To be around those people in the gym, I’m learning outside of boxing. I’m trying to be a sponge to everything in that gym and I’m thankful to be there. In hindsight it seemed like a tough decision turning pro but I’ve never looked back once. My character and my boxing, it just wasn’t settling well there and I just didn’t love boxing like I use to. As soon as I made the decision to turn pro I fell in love with it again. I’m getting my journey started. As soon as I box on Saturday I’d like to be out again the next week! It’s a great time to be involved in women’s boxing. As soon as I get started I want to keep going.”
Bec Connolly – Swindon, England – 3-7 – fighting Ellie Scotney in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest:
“It’s quite exciting isn’t it. I didn’t think with all of this COVID stuff this year that I’d get to box at all. It’s a massive change on the management side of things, I’d been with Paddy for the best part of ten years. I’m with Mike in Malmesbury now with new management as well in Al Siesta. I can’t see small hall boxing coming back for a long time with this COVID stuff so it’s time to do the big shows. Experience is only good if you use it, and I plan on using it on Saturday. She’s not your typical debutant and I think people in boxing know that already. Ellie has got a lot of accolades behind her. Inactivity as a boxer is a killer. You want to be busy and you want to be out there. This is a great platform to be on and I’m just really grateful that it’s happening.”