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Paddy Donovan breaks Ritson resistance for impressive stoppage

Paddy Donovan stopped former British champion Lewis Ritson in the ninth round.

Thirty-two seconds into the ninth, referee Howard Foster intervened to put an out-of-resistance Ritson out of his misery.

‘The Deal Deal’ Donovan bagged the 11th stoppage win of his career and defended the WBA Continental welterweight title in the process on the Taylor-Caterall card at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

The Andy Lee-trained welter maintained his unbeaten record, which now stands at 14-0, and could now be in line for an all-Irish clash with Lewis Crocker later in the year.

Ritson was in trouble when he rose for the ninth round.

The Sandman, a former British lightweight champ and an ex-European title challenger who was stepping up from light-welterweight for this, vowed to make it a ‘dog fight.

Donovan was able, for the most part, to keep a muzzle on Ritson.

Williams Andres Herrera had threatened to test Donovan in Belfast, but the Irish puncher went into that bout after being bed-ridden for a few days.

The classy Donovan pummelled Ritson in the eighth round having been in control for much of the way, bar the third.

The aggressive Ritson might well have been a real banana skin for Donovan, but it was the Irish puncher who looked set to stop the fight in the eighth.

Indeed, Foster might well have moved in after Donovan unloaded a variety of heavy shots to the Geordie’s torso.

A man of lesser experience than Ritson might’ve had enough, but the former Paul Hyland opponent got to the stool for a breather.

Donovan, though, was in no mood to hang around and Donovan forced the referee to bring proceedings to a halt in the first minute of the ninth.

Ritson was returning to the ring after a loss to Ohara Davis in Newcastle in a super-lightweight world title eliminator, but his card drops to 23-4 after this loss.

During the week, Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn told how Donovan ‘needs to be able to soak it up’.

Donovan, he said was ‘stepping up into the real fights’.

The mix of the exciting Donovan’s talent, honed by the nous of Lee, makes for a road ahead littered with all kinds of promise.