Paddy Donovan pours the pressure on Lewis Ritson. Alamy Stock Photo

Paddy Donovan stops Lewis Ritson in 9th round

‘The Real Deal’ improved to 14-0 with 11 KOs as he turned the screw on Newcastle’s ‘Sandman’ after the turn.

LIMERICK’S PADDY DONOVAN passed his latest test with a ninth-round stoppage of former British lightweight champion Lewis Ritson in Leeds on Saturday evening.

Unbeaten welterweight prospect Donovan, who is trained by his county’s former middleweight world champion Andy Lee, controlled a competitive bout before unloading upon tiring Tynesider Ritson during the eighth and ninth rounds to grab an 11th stoppage from his 14 victories.

Donovan, 25, didn’t have it all his own way against the 30-year-old Englishman, who was moving up from light-welterweight.

Ritson found success to the body throughout the contest and certainly won the third round, but Donovan otherwise negotiated the aggressive ‘Sandman’ with intelligence before applying the finishing touches to a good performance.

Donovan, who had never before boxed past the eighth round, boxed off the backfoot for the majority of the contest but his own body work, and a regular supply of shots upstairs, eventually broke Ritson’s stern resistance.

From the turn of the fight onwards, Limerick’s ‘Real Deal’ began to colonise the centre of the ring and by round 8, it was Lee’s counter-puncher who had transitioned into becoming the come-forward aggressor.

A 90-second barrage by Donovan in the second half of the eighth almost forced referee Howard Foster into action, the Irishman’s left uppercut particularly potent as Ritson showed enough just veteran instincts to survive on the ropes.

But when the ninth began to follow a similar pattern, Foster halted the contest and Donovan wheeled away to celebrate a hard-earned but still one-sided victory.

Next up for Donovan may well be an all-Irish clash with fellow welterweight standout Lewis Crocker (19-0, 11KOs). The Belfast man must first take care of Conah Walker in Birmingham on 22 June.

Donovan’s victory over Ritson marked double Irish success on the undercard of Josh Taylor’s rematch with Jack Caterall in Leeds.

Earlier, Naas lightweight Gary Cully continued his comeback from his shock, sole career defeat to Jose Felix at the 3Arena last May as he outpointed Belgium-based Italian Francesco Patera on a unanimous verdict (98-92, 96-94, 96-94). ‘The Diva’ broadly outboxed the game Patera to improve his record to 18-1 (10KOs).

There was disappointment for Limerick’s Graham ‘G-Train’ McCormack, however, as he was dropped and stopped in a round by Essex native George Liddard in their middleweight contest.

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