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Lewis Ritson vs Jeremias Ponce IBF eliminator set for June 12th in Newcastle

The pair are ranked #6 and #5, respectively
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Lewis Ritson’s quest for a world title shot is officially set to hit a critical juncture on June 12th, when he’ll face unbeaten Argentinean Jeremias Ponce in an IBF super lightweight eliminator.

I’ll admit to some confusion here; by all accounts, this is supposed to be one of two semifinal eliminators alongside Subriel Matias vs Batyr Jukembayev this coming Saturday. If undisputed champion Josh Taylor doesn’t vacate, it’ll almost certainly be at least a year before his IBF mandatory is due, as he routed previous mandatory Apinun Khongsong last September and now has the WBO’s Jack Catterall to deal with. The tournament format seemed a perfect way to spend that time.

Instead, the press release exhaustively calls this a “final eliminator” and describes Ritson (21-1, 12 KO), who needed absolutely bogus judging to get past a badly faded Miguel Vazquez last time out, as “one fight away” from a crack at the title.

Whatever the case, he’ll welcome the 24-year-old Ponce (27-0, 17 KO) back to Europe after Ponce previously defeated Germany’s Rico Mueller for the IBO belt in hostile territory. All but one of his other bouts took place in his native Argentina, including last December’s victory over Jonathan Jose Eniz.

“It was a strange experience behind closed doors last time so I’m thrilled fans will be returning, it’s always loud in Newcastle and I’m proud to have them behind me cheering me on,” said Ritson.

“Ponce likes to come forward, throw a few good body shots and he’s got a decent jab. We’re expecting and have prepared for a tough fight and it should be given what’s at stake.

“I’m one or two fights away from being World Champion now, that’s the dream for any boxer and to be in touching distance now is spurring me on with this Final Eliminator locked in.”

“I’m really looking forward to the fight,” said Ponce. “I’ve already become World Champion in Europe when I won the IBO crown against Rico Mueller and after my win against Ritson on June 12 I am aiming to win another World Title. I’m ready to box anyone in my weight class.”

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