ADAM ETCHES and John Ryder have both promised a ‘night to remember’ as the pair prepare to go head to head at London’s Olympia on February 4.
Both will move up a division to super-middleweight for the contest, which pits North v South in a mouth-watering showdown.
Although the sparks are bound to be flying when they step into the ring, both fighters have nothing but respect for their opponent.
Victory for one will catapult him onto the world stage, while for the other it will be a long road back to the top level.
Sheffield Etches said, “I’ve got a lot of time for John Ryder both as a person and a fighter. He is my type of boxer, someone who isn’t afraid to get in there and mix it. I’ll make no bones about it, I do like watching his fights. If there is one aspect which I can take advantage of, it is the fact he can be a bit inconsistent. But on the night I’ll be expecting the very best version of John Ryder and he can definitely, 100 percent expect the best of me.
“The fans on the night can expect one thing: it will be a classic, a night to remember. There won’t be any messing around, taking a breather. I won’t take a step back and neither will he. This is a make or break fight for both of us.
“I know what a win will mean. It will put me right back in at the elite level and he will now that as well.
“The fact we are boxing on ITV Box Office makes it even more special. For me ITV is the home of boxing and to be part of that is amazing.”
The ‘Bomber’ added, “Moving up to 12 stone will help me enormously. I was really struggling to get down to Middleweight so this feels like a very natural move for me.”
Londoner Ryder also admires his opponent, although that won’t play any part in his plans come fight night.
He said, “I think Etches is a very good boxer and I was surprised when he got beat, but even the very best have lost and they find a way to come bouncing back. This is his chance to do that against me so while there is respect for each other, I’ll be banging away doing everything I can to knock him out.
“I have struggled to make middleweight for some time now so I’ll delighted to have that extra few pounds. Super-middle is the right weight for me now.”
The ‘Gorilla’ – a nickname he picked up by renowned trainer Robert McCracken for his bodybuilder physique, added: “I’m still pinching myself that this fight is on ITV, the home of boxing. I grew up watching Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank on ITV so to be on its new ITV Box Office channel is incredible.
“I feel a weight of responsibility because Etches and I will be fighting in front of hundreds of thousands of casual fans, as opposed to the committed ones. That means we have to put on a show to highlight all the good things in the sport.
“I desperately need the win and so does he. That’s what makes this such a brilliant contest.”
Etches v Ryder and David Price v Christian Hammer is on the same bill as Eubank v Quinlan, which is live and exclusive on ITV Box Office on February 4.