Callum Simpson picked up the first of many major titles last night as he blasted through Ben Ridings to become Central Area super-middleweight champion in Oldham.
Simpson entered the bout a favourite but faced a man in Ridings who had held his own at the weight above against big names such as Jez Smith and Thomas Whittaker-Hart, suggesting the Barnsley man could be taken into deep waters for the first time in his career.
However, despite fighting at a more natural weight this time around, Ridings quickly realised what he was up against as Simpson set about him, looking to score an early finish in front of his adoring fans ringside. The second saw even more pressure from Simpson as he winged in damaging blows, forcing Ridings to retreat the ropes as he sought respite from the onslaught coming his way. The latter was admirably brave and looked to earn the respect of his opponent as he fought his way back but couldn’t keep the ravenous Simpson off as he continued his pursuit of his first major title.
The crucial moment came with just under two minutes on the clock in the second when a right-hand caught Ridings flush on the temple, bundling the Bury man to the canvas in the process. The twenty-four-year-old had bravely stood up to everything he had faced in the previous five minutes but couldn’t summon the strength to regain his footing as the referee reached ten in his count.
Ridings had been defeated twice before but nobody had defeated him in the manner witnessed by the crowd in Oldham on Saturday night. “Best guy I’ve been in the ring with, without a doubt”, admitted Ridings in an interview with BBTV post-fight. “I hold my own with everybody, in sparring with the likes of Callum Smith, Hosea Burton, Thomas Whittaker-Hart. He [Simpson] hits hard but he puts them together while he’s hitting hard”.
The victory saw him score his eighth victory in ten contests and become mandatory challenger for Zak Chelli‘s English title at 168lbs, with it seemingly only a matter of time before a major promoter picks up the phone to signup the twenty-five-year-old. Ridings meanwhile can now look forward to his wedding next Friday knowing he more than earned his money on Saturday evening, leaving the venue a true warrior in every sense of the word.
The undercard in Oldham also saw Ibrahim Nadim score a second-round knockout of Alexandru Ionita at bantamweight, picking up his second victory inside the distance in nine professional contests. Light-heavyweight prospect Billy Deniz cruised to a six-round victory over Michal Gazdik to secure his sixth victory in as many outings, while Adam Sarcar suffered his first loss against the still undefeated Joe Garside at 135lbs. Credit to both men for putting their undefeated records on the line at such an early stage in their careers and Sircar will undoubtedly come again.
Jabran Bilal edged past Craig Miles in a close six-round decision at middleweight, while flyweight Sylwia Doligala picked up her first professional victory with a four-round decision Jamileth Vallejos. Lightweight prospect Tauseef Suleman won every round over tough journeyman Jamie Quinn in their four-round contest, while Peter Fury’s Jake Andrews dominated Genadij Krajevskij over four rounds at 175lbs in his third contest.