JOHN RYDER believes a career-best performance against Jack Arnfield at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, can land him a shot at the British middleweight title.
Ryder defends his WBA International crown against the Blackpool man and the Londoner is looking to shine on the big stage and land a huge fight as chief-support to the blockbuster lightweight unification tussle between Anthony Crolla and Jorge Linares.
There are plenty of options for that big fight. An elbow injury has seen Chris Eubank Jr vacate his British title and force him onto the sidelines, opening the door to both the Lord Lonsdale strap and world rankings, and Ryder wants tonight’s fight to be the springboard to bigger things.
“The plan is to win an interim belt or a silver title within the next year – and now the Lord Lonsdale belt is vacant, I’d love to fight for that again,” said Ryder, who challenged Nick Blackwell for the British title last May. “I want to get highly ranked in a governing body and see where that takes me. I’ve got the WBA International middleweight title, Daniel Jacobs is further up the food chain and so is Gennady Golovkin. Hopefully by the time I get up there, Golovkin has gone up to super-middleweight and freed up some belts.
“I respect Jack for what he’s done so far. I openly admit that I overlooked Nick Blackwell, I thought I was levels above and he would be light work. I ended up with egg on my face and in this sport there is no hiding place.”
Ryder admits to being stung by criticism of the watchful performance that won him the title against big-hitting Sergey Khomitsky at the Copper Box in London in January. Khomitsky was looking to add Ryder to his list of UK KO victims Frank Buglioni and Adam Etches, but Ryder, who nursed a cut eye from the second round, kept the banger at bay to claim the title.
“Boxing on such a big show like this is the kind of pressure I thrive on and it will bring out the very best in me,” said Ryder. “I’m not one to shout my mouth off or trash talk people – but I’m well up for this fight and this stage. This isn’t a Box Office show so even more people will tune in for the main event – but hopefully they will catch me, just before and I’ll make them sit up and remember me.
“Some may slag the performance as I always get stick from some, but as long as my trainer Tony Sims and promoter Eddie Hearn are happy then so am I. I know if I’ve had a stinker, I’m my own worse critic. The Khomitsky fight was frustrating as some said it was a dull performance but I felt great in that fight, I boxed and moved well. It’s well documented how dangerous he is throughout and I simply could not afford to switch off at any stage.”
Ryder’s clash with Arnfield is part of a huge night of action in Manchester, topped by Crolla’s mouth-watering battle with Linares.
Callum Johnson meets Willbeforce Shihepo looking to complete a unique double by adding the Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title to his Commonwealth Games gold medal, unbeaten Light-Heavyweight Hosea Burton will be in title action Conor Benn tastes his fifth night of action in the paid ranks.