By Anthony Cocks

Junior middleweight contender Dwight ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ Ritchie 19-1 (2) is looking forward to the future. The proud country kid is ranked number 12 by the IBF and has been mentioned as a potential opponent for rising star Tim Tszyu later this year.

The slick-boxing 27-year-old from Shepparton in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley is coming off a shutout win over tough South Korean Jung Hoon Yang in April after defeating Joel Camilleri and Emmanuel Carlos last year.

With the addition of personal trainer Troy Tremellen to his team and a renewed dedication to training, Ritchie is widely tipped to have a breakthrough year in 2019.

Lace up those gloves, we’re about to go 15 rounds with Dwight Ritchie.

1. What attracted you to boxing in the first place?

RITCHIE: When I was 12 a family friend was around home and said his dad had setup a boxing gym in the backyard and that I should come have a go. I went a couple of times and took to it like a fish to water and never left.

2. Toughest fight in the amateurs or pros?

RITCHIE: My fight with Hikaru Nishida. It was my first time out of the country, my first 12 rounder and we fought at a face pace from start to finish.

3. Biggest puncher you’ve faced?

RITCHIE: Koki Tyson. Every punch from that fulla hurt.

4. What are the best and worst thing about being a boxer?

RITCHIE: The best part of boxing for me is the family connection you make with your team and supporters. The worst part is not playing football and being strict with my food haha I’m a fulla who loves a good feed.

5. What is your most defining win of your career?

RITCHIE: My most defining win so far would have to be when I beat Ben Costello for the VIC title. When most thought he would roll me with work rate and power, I was able to show I had the smarts and the toughness to think my way through the fight and put the pressure back on him.

6. What are your goals for the next 12 months?

RITCHIE: I want Tim Tszyu. Him and his team have stated they want to fight me and I want to make it happen, after that I want to continue climbing the world ranks until I get a title shot.

7. What are some your hobbies away from the ring?

RITCHIE: I love being out the bush camping, fishing, riding motorbikes and horses.

8. Who is always ringside for you fights?

RITCHIE: My family from Shepparton always make the trip and I can’t forget the port Melbourne boys.

9. Who has been biggest influence on your career?

RITCHIE: As you can probably tell from my style guys like Lester Ellis, Barry Michael and Graeme Brooke have always been big influences on me but if I had to name one, I can’t go past Lionel Rose. A Koori who didn’t come from much to achieve what he did really gave me hope.

10. What fight have you learnt the most from?

RITCHIE: My loss to Koki Tyson in Japan. It taught me a lot about how strong I am mentally. That I can pick myself up and comeback stronger and not let a bad night define me.

11. What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?

RITCHIE: I battled cancer for the first two years of my life.

12. Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow in the lead-up to fight night?

RITCHIE: Nah, I’ve never been much for that kind of stuff.

13. What is your favourite post-fight feed?

RITCHIE: Chicken Vermicelli. I always get my partner to cook up a big pot after the fight.

14. Why would we find you when you’re away from the gym?

RITCHIE: Out the bush, for me it doesn’t get better than that.

15. If you weren’t boxing, what would you be doing?

RITCHIE: I’d probably be working as a chippy and playing footy on the weekend.