NEWCASLTE boxer Lewis Ritson has been talking about how his family have played a huge role in his preparations for his next bout.

The 27-year-old takes on Jeremais Ponce on Saturday at the Newcastle Eagles Arena in a final eliminator for the IBF Super-Lightweight World Title belt.

In an honest interview, Ritson talked about how staying locally and training around his family has given him the upper hand ahead of a big showdown this weekend.

“If I’m at the gym then I’m around my family all the time” says Ritson.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s my nieces or my nephews. I’ve got three sisters, I’ve got a brother.

“We’re a very family orientated family where if I’m not at the gym and I’m in the house and I get asked to do interviews, it’s a point blank no. Gym time is gym time and family time is family time.

“I was away for two years and it got a little bit harder every time I was leaving.

"My daughter just cried and wouldn’t talk to me. It just gets to the point where you are better off around them and better off at home.

“I think that’s one thing that’s definitely been good with this camp as well. I finish the gym, I get to go home and see my daughter.”

By his own admission, Ritson says he was fortunate that he was handed the win in his last fight with Miguel Vasquez as he walked away with a controversial points victory last October.

However, he says he’s had to stay away from social media due to the abuse he and his family received off the back of the fight.

“I can take that people think ‘Vasquez won, Ritson needs to improve’, that’s fine and all the rest that comes with it.

“But I had people messaging my niece who is only 10 saying ‘you uncle is this, your uncle is that’. It gets a bit bang out of order at times where I deactivated my Twitter account for a little while just to let things blow over.

“People aren’t going to say it to your face, that’s what Twitter is there for. They’ll give you stick and then you’ll never see them again in your life.

“I just had to calm down a bit, deactivate it, get back in the gym and show people in this fight why people should be talking about you in a good way.”

The 27-year-old boasts a record of 21 wins and one defeat in his career and has earned the right to challenge for a world title belt.

Ritson has prepared for his next fight in camp with the help of his father, David.

“My dad’s come in and changed a few things compared to my last trainer. There wasn’t as many ground rules with them.

“This time, he’s said ‘any slacking, you’re out’ straight away. He said ‘I want you there and I want you training hard’.

“We’ve changed training up a little bit compared to the last trainer where it was always just pad work.

“I’ve not really done much pad work for this fight. I’ve just worked a lot more on fitness so hopefully were going to see the Lewis Ritson we’re used to seeing.

“I never ever used to watch fighters or who I was fighting. I used to leave that to the team because I wasn’t really bothered as long as I went in feeling good.

“I’ve watched a few fights of Ponce now which I’d never usually do.

“The mindset is definitely changing because I’ve got to be more on the ball really.”