The story behind Dwight “The Fighting Cowboy” Ritchie is an interesting one.
The 23 year-old Australian middleweight champion who hails from the regional city of Shepparton, in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, sat down and spoke exclusively to Aus-Boxing about his burgeoning career as a professional, his thoughts on his fight with Joe Rea and his dreams of the ultimate success, a world title.
Like most young boys growing up in rural areas of Victoria, Ritchie (10-0, 1 KO) grew up playing Australian Rules football and once had dreams of making it to AFL level.
The proud country boy loved nothing more than to be running around of a Saturday with his mates kicking a footy and celebrating a win.
Then at the tender age of twelve, he was bitten by a bug. The boxing bug, and so it started.
“Yeah it was all pretty innocent really,” said Ritchie. “Like most kids back then that were my age, you played footy of a Saturday with all your mates,”
“I think from memory I was around twelve or thirteen, and I went to a mates place in Shepparton and we were out the back messing around and I put a boxing glove on,”
“That was pretty much it for me – I was hooked – I then started training from that point on and began my career in the amateurs when I was fifteen,”
After a successful career at amateur level, Ritchie turned professional in 2009, winning four from four bouts in that same year.
What was interesting to note, was that Ritchie was in fact found to be under age at the time and had those bouts overturned into no contests.
It has now been six years since that period and Ritchie has gone from strength to strength capturing the Australian middleweight title in October of last year via near shutout victory over tough Queenslander, Dean Mikelj. It was a belt he had dreamed about winning not only for himself, but for his father Darcy.
“It was fantastic to win that belt,” Ritchie continued. “My Dad had challenged for Australian titles a couple of times and didn’t manage to get the titles he fought for,”
“I was really happy to be able to not only win for myself, but for him as well,”
What is quite remarkable is that Ritchie has now only started a strength and conditioning regime rather than relying predominantly on just road work, and sparring.
His undefeated record in ten fights comes with just the single knockout on his record, suggesting it was time to start such a regime.
“We are now right into a strength and conditioning program that has been running for around about six weeks now,” Ritchie explained.
“We are doing these sessions most days of the week now and the results have been very noticeable. I am a hell of a lot quicker and stronger, it has been really helpful to try and take my game to the next level,”
Ritchie is scheduled to fight tough Irishman, Joe Rea next on May 8th in Somerton, Victoria and says his preparation is going very well and knows he has a very willing opponent in front of him.
He is also scheduled to be fight on June 5th with an opponent yet to be announced. Ritchie isn’t looking beyond Rea as he explains.
“By all reports Joe Rea is a very tough opponent,” Ritchie added. “He is one guy that will not be taking a backward step so my team and I are really looking forward to the challenge ahead and we are very confident we can get the win”.
When quizzed about what he hoped to achieve moving forward, Ritchie says a world title is the ultimate dream for him.
“A world title is the ultimate for me, the pinnacle I guess,” he continued.
“I believe in myself, my ability and my team. My trainer Dave and all the crew down at Tarneit have been fantastic and have been very supportive, I can’t thank them enough,”
Ritchie vs Rea is featured on Team Ellis’ “One Upon a Time in Somerton III” on May 8th at the LaMirage Reception Centre, Somerton.