Ryder on the comeback trail

Shaun Brown
09/10/2015 7:37am


It has been an indifferent few years for Islington’s John Ryder.

The 27-year-old middleweight nicknamed ‘The Gorilla’ debuted back in 2010 and soon found activity to be his friend. Six fights in 2011, five in 2012 (including a career best win against Eamonn O’Kane) and three in 2013 culminated in a hard fought but ultimately losing effort against fellow Londoner Billy Joe Saunders.

That British and Commonwealth title affair would be Ryder’s last occasion in the ring that year. A hand injury caused in sparring delayed his return for six months. And 2014 was all about returning to action and getting back in the mix. Opponent pull-outs did the southpaw no favours (notably Sergey Khomitsky) so 2015 was to be his time. Nick Blackwell disagreed.

Their vacant British middleweight title contest back in May ended after Blackwell landed a full-on assault which caught Ryder out and ended the fight (Blackwell TKO 7) before the Londoner had a chance to get back into it, despite controlling and impressing during the early stages. His two biggest fights have resulted in defeat, but there’s no panic button being pressed.

“It’s a learning curve. I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again,” Ryder told Boxing Monthly when discussing the loss to Blackwell. “I watched the stoppage just to see how bad it was and then I went back and watched the whole fight and I felt the stoppage was a bit weird.

“If it had been stopped 10 seconds earlier then I’d have gone ‘fair enough’ but when he [referee Howard Foster] had stopped it I was on the move. I’d evaded a good few shots and was just about to start moving off. Ten seconds earlier, when I was under it, I could’ve understood it more. I felt like I was winning well after five rounds of the six and boxing well.”

Ryder (20-2, 12 KOs) made no excuses for the loss when BM spoke to him ahead of his return to action this Saturday at York Hall. Preparation was good and he enjoyed some Texan sun when he joined Ricky Burns for three weeks helping the Scot prepare for his U.S. debut against Omar Figueroa Jr. “It was just one of them things. It happens.”

While accepting the second ‘L’ on his professional record, Ryder is somewhat annoyed at himself for allowing the fight to take place more on the inside, chasing that eye-catching stoppage as well as not relaxing and leaving the corner work to, well, his corner.

“I was having a lot of success at mid-range. I should really have stuck there and boxed away to a points win,” Ryder told BM. “I don’t know, I’ve got it in me to push more for extra and I ended up paying the price.

“I got cut early and that played on my mind thinking about the cut. I should’ve just kept the faith with my corner, they know how to deal with cuts. It’s not their fault. Like I say, it’s a learning curve and things that bothered me in that fight won’t bother me again in the future.”

The Matchroom middleweight’s third fight of the year, scheduled to be against Adam Jones (5-10-4, 0 KOs), is a six-rounder to dust off May’s disappointment and get Ryder back into the ‘W’ column. A victory on Saturday will likely lead to Ryder having one, possibly two, more outings this year. BM asked him what he, not his promoter Eddie Hearn, would like the next 12 months to hold.

“First and foremost to get back to winning ways in a six-rounder then look for an eliminator for the British [title] December time then, hopefully, early 2016 get back in for the British and build from there and see what doors open.”

And what about a rematch with Blackwell?

“It’s a fight I’d like again, but I’ve got to get back to winning ways now and my name back in that hat for the British title and, fingers crossed, we get the rematch on. He’s beat me once but he’s going to have to do it again for me to believe it wholeheartedly.”