By Anthony Cocks
IBF number 12 junior middleweight Dwight ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ Ritchie 18-1 (2) has his sights set on a big domestic dust-up with former WBO welterweight champion Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn 19-1-1 (13).
The 27-year-old from Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley in central Victoria believes he will be ready to face the best in the world in just a few short fights.
“I want to try and get my way to someone like Jeff Horn or even someone over in the United States,” Ritchie said to the Shepparton News.
“I want to break into that top 10 in the world and get my chance at the champ. The next 12 to 18 months is about hopefully getting three to four fights in and getting to a position to challenge the champion.”
Before the big fights can happen Ritchie will need to turn back the challenge of rugged South Korean 154-pound champion Jung Hoon Yang, who he will defend his IBF Australasian title against in Springvale, Melbourne on April 27.
“He’s a tough walk-up boy who’s been in there with a few Japanese champion,” Ritchie said.
“He’s really tough and comes to fight. I’ve seen a couple of his fights and he looks like he’ll be there all night, but he tends to wear his opponents down and win on will.
“I’ll be looking to box from the outside and use my angles, get off my stuff from the outside without getting hit.”
Since his last fight against Joel Camilleri in August, Ritchie has made some changes to his training camp designed to improve his overall fitness and make him competitive on the world stage.
“I won the title in the middle of last year. The last six or seven months I’ve got a local boy Troy Tremellen on board from VI.PT Lifestyle,” Ritchie said.
“He’s really helping me get my strength and conditioning and nutrition on point. He’s really helping me take my game to new levels, getting my fitness and weight management under control.
“I’ve been working away just trying to get better, travelling around sparring, just making sure if any chance comes up I can take it.
Ritchie is expecting Yang’s style to compliment his own but he insists he isn’t underestimating his opponent.
“It’s fun when you win, but I do like a walk-up fighter and being able to counter and use my feet, it suits my style,” Ritchie said. “But the will and determination is something else from a lot of these Asian fighters.
“Troy has really helped me and given me the confidence to be able to go 10 to 12 rounds.”