BURY boxer Ben Ridings will next head to Spain after coming up short on his debut on the big stage.

The 22-year-old tasted defeat for the first time as a professional as he dropped a six-round points decision to the more experienced Jez Smith at Wembley Arena.

Competing live on Sky Sports, the step up in his first fight since May 2019 proved too much for a fighter who had won his first three outings.

Smith won every round to take the decision 60-54 on referee Robert Williams’ card on Saturday.

But having taken this fight at short notice less than two weeks after being ruled out of the televised Boxxer tournament due to a positive Covid-19 test, Ridings is now set to fight in Alicante on January 23.

“It will just get him more experience and that’s all he needs now, more rounds," said trainer and manager Kieran Farrell. 

“We’ll notch his record up again and when that opportunity comes about Ben’s one of those lads who is always in the gym so he’s always fit and ready.

“You’ve go to take into account he had Covid-19, that probably wasn’t the best preparation, especially with the Boxxer disappointment.

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“I’ve got a good relationship with (promoters) Matchroom and I’m confident he’ll be fighting on Sky Sports again next year.

“He’s got to let everything from the last week sink in and that’s how he’ll become a better fighter, with time, he won’t become a better fighter overnight.”

It was Ridings’ first experience of a big-fight promotion, Conor Benn, son of British great Nigel, impressing in the main event against Sebastian Formella.

“He’s a really marketable lad and all the lads at Matchroom really liked his demeanour,” said Farrell.

“It was all about business, he didn’t come with the trash talk.

“Fair play to Jez, he got the job done, but Ben’s cool, calm, collected and he certainly stands out with all the tattoos on his face.”

Saturday’s fight only just gave Farrell and Ridings enough time to be cleared after having Covid-19, both not having been overly affected by the virus.

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The Heywood-based manager got the call on Monday for the fight and did not want the opportunity slip for his man.

“We tested positive on the Sunday (November 8) so it only cleared on the Wednesday and we travelled that day,” Farrell said.

“He wouldn’t have been fighting if he wasn’t fine.

“That was the first thing I asked when I rang him up to tell him about the fight and he said he was fine.

“The setback with the tournament could have affected him mentally as well. He thought he was getting this money for Christmas, then he wasn’t, and that was what I was thinking about.

“We were on the phone every day and then I was buzzing to get the opportunity for him.”

Ultimately, on the night, Smith just proved too good.

“The fight landed with Jez Smith and I know he’s a talented fighter but I really did believe Ben’s strength and size would play a massive factor,” Farrell said.

“But Jez Smith boxed a beautiful fight and the inexperience and inactivity for Ben was huge.

“We haven’t got any excuses and when you take a 50-50 fight, you know it’s 50-50.

“Fair play to Ben for taking it so early in his career and the thing is if fighters want to get out now, that’s what they’ve got to do, take a 50-50.

“It was good to get him back in the ring, he boxed a talented fighter in his first six-rounder and I can only see him getting better from that. You either win or you learn.

“He tried his best and it just wasn’t to be on the night. He’s only a young lad, he’s got plenty of time to come again. But I believe he’s a top prospect.”

To sponsor Ridings for his upcoming fight in Spain contact him or trainer and manager Farrell on social media.