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John Ryder admits there is plenty of room for improvement before he makes his second challenge for the British middleweight title.

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The Islington fighter secured the opportunity of a rematch with champion Billy Joe Saunders – who defeated him on points last year – by winning Saturday’s eliminator against Jez Wilson at York Hall.

Ryder finally triumphed after a flurry of blows in the ninth round left his opponent unable to continue, but the 25-year-old was less than satisfied with his overall display.

“It was good to get the win and good to get him out of there in the end, because it was getting tight on points,” Ryder told the Gazette. “But I’m not pleased with the performance.

“I did a lot of things wrong there. I should have been sharper and got behind the jab, but I was trying to punch too hard and get him out of there with one shot and I didn’t need to do that.

“I could have boxed nicely and stuck to the straight shots, then gone for it in the later rounds. I was too content with trying to catch him with a big right hook over the top.

“Wilson was a tough opponent, a bit of a livewire, but I should have been better than that. I can spar 15 or 20 rounds and I need to start boxing like I’m sparring, getting behind the jab.

“I’ve got a lot to work on in the gym, which is not a bad thing, and I look forward to that. It’s nice to be back in position for the British title and we’ll see where we go from here.”

The former Angel ABC amateur struggled to establish many clear spells of superiority against the determined Wilson, despite landing the better blows throughout.

Ryder’s most effective work came when he doubled up his punches, with a pair of left uppercuts in the third round catching the eye – although that was also the round in which he sustained an injury to the same hand.

That hampered Ryder’s progress, but eventually sheer weight of punches to the head proved decisive in the penultimate round as the Sheffield man sank to one knee and referee Michael Alexander halted the contest soon afterwards.

The stoppage, which came after one minute and nine seconds of the ninth, took Ryder’s professional record to 17 wins and just one defeat, at the hands of Saunders last autumn.

Ryder’s trainer Tony Sims added: “It’s not always easy to come through when you damage your hand early in the fight. Even though John still let them go, he wasn’t full on with that left hand.

“That’s the second time he’s had problems with his hand and he’s already had a lot of treatment, so it’s a little bit of a worry and we’ve got to get that sorted now.

“You’ve got to give credit to Wilson – he was in a British title eliminator, he wanted it and he knew it was probably his last chance to get it at 34.

“But John stepped up when he needed to, he got the job done and that’s the main thing. That’s the difference between good fighters and average fighters, and he’s got plenty of time and potential.”

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