Islington fighter aiming for third shot at British middleweight title

John Ryder with the WBA international belt

John Ryder with the WBA international belt - Credit: Archant

Islington middleweight John Ryder believes a strong performance against Jack Arnfield this weekend could yet earn him a third shot at the British title.

Ryder’s only losses in his 25-fight professional career have come during unsuccessful challenges for the British crown, against Billy Joe Saunders and then Nick Blackwell.

But the former Angel ABC amateur, who defends his WBA international belt in Manchester on Saturday, has his sights set on another opportunity to box for the title recently vacated by Chris Eubank Jr.

“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.

“I want to get highly ranked in a governing body and see where that takes me. I’ve got the WBA international title, Daniel Jacobs is further up the food chain and so is Gennady Golovkin.

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“Hopefully by the time I get up there, Golovkin has gone up to super-middleweight and freed up some belts.

“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.

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“While I respect Jack for what he’s done so far, 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.

“I’m not one to shout my mouth off or trash talk people – but I’m well up for this fight and this stage.”

Ryder has boxed just once since he won the WBA strap in January at the Copper Box Arena against Sergey Khomitsky – a dogged performance that earned him plenty of criticism.

However, the 28-year-old, who was nursing a cut eye in that fight from the second round onwards, added: “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 worst 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.”

Like his opponent, Arnfield has been beaten just twice in his professional career – most recently when he lost to Blackwell in his bid for the British title at the end of last year.

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