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Ryder defeats Russian rival Sirotkin to set up a shot at WBA world champion Smith

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 October 2018

John Ryder sends his rival to the canvas (pic Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing)

John Ryder sends his rival to the canvas (pic Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing)

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John Ryder celebrates his win (pic Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing)John Ryder celebrates his win (pic Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing)

Islington’s John Ryder won his final eliminator for the WBA ‘Super’ super middleweight title with a seventh-round stoppage of Andrey Sirotkin.

The clash headlined a packed Matchroom card that was held at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford.

Ryder was expecting to come up against a fellow southpaw in Sirotkin, who had won most of his previous fights with that style of boxing.

Instead, the Russian fought the entire contest with an orthodox stance which handed Ryder another puzzle to solve.

The 30-year-old, though, coped well with the challenge and Ryder was on the front foot from the start.

Sirotkin, a former kick-boxer, proved difficult to hit as he ducked plenty of Ryder’s early punches, as well as catching hold of his opponent as soon as he was within reach.

The Russian was able to catch the Londoner with some decent head shots in the first four rounds, while Ryder was having trouble landing any telling blows on Sirotkin.

A clash of heads in round six led to a cut above Ryder’s left eye, which saw blood dripping down the Islington man’s face.

The cut, though, seemed to force Ryder into a more aggressive mode as he cut down the distance to Sirotkin, before opening up with a flurry of hooks to head and body.

By round seven, ‘The Gorilla’ was in full control as Sirotkin began to slow down with his body taking plenty of punishment.

A delayed body punch by Ryder midway through the seventh round proved enough to drop the Russian to the canvas, though referee Terry O’Connor saw it as a slip and did not give a count.

The fight did not last much longer after that, with two hard left-hooks from Ryder dropping his rival to the canvas for a second time, with O’Connor this time calling a halt to proceedings.

Victory has now made Ryder the mandatory challenger to WBA ‘Super’ world champion and fellow Brit Callum Smith.

Ryder said: “I had been training for 10 weeks to face a fellow southpaw and he turned up as an orthodox, so he was awkward and it took me time to work him out.”

Tony Sims, who trains Ryder, said: “Since John has moved up to super middleweight, you can see the different in the last three fights.”

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