JOHN RYDER has agreed to a fight with Chris Eubank Jnr. In fact he settled on the terms for the contest a month ago. It can still happen, though more likely in October rather than September. Yet Ryder’s wait for The Big Fight continues.
“I’ve agreed to everything,” Ryder tells Boxing News. “I’m just waiting to hear back on yes/no.
“I’ve had a month just waiting to see what’s what,” he continued. “I don’t know how it works with ITV. It’s obviously a massive network… It’s frustrating at times but I know the bigger the fight, the more that’s going on behind the scenes so it takes that bit longer.”
The prospect of fighting Eubank is richly appealing to him. “James DeGale was past his best [when he fought Eubank in February] but he still showed glimpses of what he had and made it awkward at times,” Ryder said. “I believe, like when you saw him [Eubank] fight Billy Joe [Saunders], he struggles with someone that moves… There are a few ways to beat him but it’s not an easy win for anyone.”
John’s trainer Tony Sims adds, “I think Eubank is an excellent fighter. Sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”
“We’ve been asking for the Eubank fight,” Sims continued. “Negotiations have been going on, same as I’ve been asking Eddie [Hearn] about Billy Joe. They’re all fights that can hopefully be made. It’s just when can they be made and are the terms right for everybody. It’s not just about are the terms right for you, it’s are the terms right for them. It’s can these fights be made. They’re all big British domestic fights, which is what the public want to see.”
Ryder confirmed that when it comes to the Eubank fight, “I’ve agreed to it, I’ve done everything I can do on my part. If this opportunity doesn’t come up, there will be another opportunity. It might not be as good, rewarding but there will be another big opportunity.”
He is indeed in a good position. Eventually his mandatory shot at WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith will be called, he now shares a promoter with former conqueror, the WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders too. Ryder even adds, “The likes of Danny Jacobs moving up to 168lbs now, what could be better than him fighting me for a [WBA] Interim title to get a number one spot for a world title. There are a lot of fights out there that make sense.”
Ryder is adamant that despite a mid career lull in form, he has now proved himself a world class super-middleweight. “Patrick Nielsen was meant to wipe the floor with me,” he notes. Instead Ryder scored a spectacular stoppage. He hammered Jamie Cox at the O2 last year. “He got beat by [George] Groves but everyone believed he was still a big threat. I beat him, moved on. Things didn’t go as quick I thought but I racked up another two good wins. It’s a shame the [David] Lemieux fight didn’t come off but I still got a good win out in Vegas and announced myself out there a bit,” Ryder continued.
“John, since he’s moved up to super-middleweight, he’s been a totally, totally different fighter,” his trainer Sims says. “He was struggling with the weight, his form was dipping. I should have moved him [up] but I didn’t, because he was short. I wish I had moved him sooner, perhaps he wouldn’t have suffered those defeats. It’s all experience and you learn in this game.
“He’s brought his body into that super-middleweight division now. He’s a solid fighter and when he’s hitting people, he’s knocking them out. He’s got great power in either hand. He’s a solid fighter and he’s got good defence. He’s needing now the opportunity that warrants what he’s been doing in the ring. He needs that big money opportunity, that big fight against either Chris Eubank or Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith. One of those fighters where he can now step up to the plate.”
Ryder is ready for a big one, a career defining fight, saying, “Now I want to fight the best, I want to test myself against the best. If you’re good enough you’ll win and if you’re not, you won’t.”
He is confident that he will get one of those major names next. “Those are the only fights I want now. I don’t want to fight four rounders, six rounders or eight rounders,” Ryder declared. “I just want title fights now.”