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Ritson-Vazquez: Boxing world reacts to 'worst decision of the year'

Sporting News — (Sporting News)

Boxing . . . sometimes you wonder if it's worth it at all. 

That's what Miguel Vazquez must be thinking right now after losing a 12-round split decision to Lewis Ritson in a highway robbery that will be remembered as the worst decision of 2020.

The. Worst. 

Six years older and an Englishman in England, Vazquez was superior from start to finish. He landed more, dictated pace and distance, his movement was on point, and Ritson genuinely looked confused.

By the second half of the fight, it became clear to anyone watching that Ritson needed a knockout to have any chance of winning. He didn't look remotely close to scoring one, and his corner didn't urge him to look for one. 

When the fight ended, we waited an age for the scorecards to be tallied up. Never a good sign. 

The result, a split decision in favor of the Brit with scores of 116-113, Vazquez, 117-111 and 115-113, Ritson.


Terry O'Connor, who scored the bout 117-111 for Ritson, has been savaged after appearing on the broadcast looking at his phone during the fight. 

Former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew looked dejected analyzing the result. 

"I had Ritson losing, to be totally honest," he said bluntly. "An alarming lack of urgency from his corner. It was strange. 

"I had him losing. In my opinion, he got completely 'old-manned' tonight. Everything was at Vazquez's pace. He dictated everything. 

"He (Ritson) needed to use his youth and come out all guns blazing and he just didn't.

"I'm mystified, I don't know how he (Vazquez) hasn't got his hand raised. Lewis Ritson has got away with it here. I just can't make any case for Lewis Ritson winning tonight.

"He (Vazquez) won that as clear as night is night and day is day. I just don't know how the judges had it so differently - what was he watching?" 

Eddie Hearn was one of thousands who agreed with Bellew. 

Speaking afterward, Ritson said he felt it was a close bout that he deserved to win. 

"It was a very close fight. I thought he was just tapping me with his shots and I was really getting him with mine," he said. "You pick what you like. I went back to the corner and they were confident I had won. It was a close fight and I was confident I won. 

"It was tap-tap-tap-tap and running away and I suppose that's his style. We got the win, but it shows where we are, there needs to be progress.

"My corner said I won the fight. I knew it would be close. Whatever you think, I was hitting him with the cleaner shots and he was tapping and running away and scoring the odd one. It is what it is, I came away with the win." 

Reacting to Ritson's comments, Bellew responded: "He got tapped but they're scoring punches, they're still knocking your head back.

"Your one big jab is not as effective as six taps. It's insane to think you're ahead.

"He was pressing and putting the pressure on, but if you're not landing good shots, you're not winning and he was getting hit all the way through that fight."

Social media went into meltdown when the results came in.