Islington fighter determined to do better despite winning first title

John Ryder (right) in action against Theophilus Tetteh. Pic: Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO

John Ryder (right) in action against Theophilus Tetteh. Pic: Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO - Credit: Chris Royle/TGSPHOTO

John Ryder admits there is still plenty of room for improvement after claiming his first professional title on Saturday at the O2 Arena.

The Islington southpaw stopped Ghana’s Theophilus Tetteh in the fifth round to secure his 19th victory in 20 contests and the vacant WBO inter-continental middleweight strap.

The 26-year-old – who was out of action with a hand injury earlier in the year – always looked in control, but could not administer the killer blow before referee Richie Davies stepped in to end the contest.

“My hands held out well and I was whacking in the shots, so I’m happy with that,” Ryder told the Gazette. “But I’m a lot better than that performance showed.

“I was a bit over-eager – I should have just stepped back at times, looked at him and picked my shots a bit better. I could have relaxed a bit more and made the openings.

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“Tetteh’s got a hard head. I knew he was going to be tough and powerful because Lee Purdy boxed him about three or four years ago and I know what Lee’s about.

“It was a points win for him, so I realised it would be tough and I was just too eager to get the shots in. But you live and learn and there’s something to go back to the gym and work on.

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“It was a huge event and nice to box at the O2. I’ll talk to my trainer (Tony Sims) and (promoter) Eddie (Hearn) and see where we go from there.”

Tetteh, a late replacement for Sergey Khomitsky, offered little in terms of attacking threat and showed a tendency to hold whenever the former Angel ABC amateur got close.

Ryder stung the Ghanaian with a combination in the second round and had him in trouble with another flurry of blows just before the bell.

Working the body in the third and fourth rounds and then rocking Tetteh with a left hook, Ryder appeared to be on the verge of victory, with his opponent pinned almost perpetually in the corner.

Tetteh was docked a point for holding in the third – and again in the fifth – but, with the Islington man continuing to land punches with ease, the referee ended the fight four seconds before the end of the fifth round.

Ryder dedicated the victory to his six month-old daughter, Heidi, adding: “It’s all for her now and it’s nice to have a belt I can put over the end of her cot.

“At the end of your career, you aren’t going to have cheques in frames on the wall, are you? You want belts there on the mantelpiece and your kids – and your grandkids – grow up and they know dad was a champion.

“That’s what I’m in this for, to win belts, and it’s a good feeling to have one now.”

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