Islington fighter ready to overcome bruiser from Belarus and claim international title

John Ryder. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

John Ryder. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

John Ryder feels he is better equipped to handle veteran Belarussian Sergey Khomitsky now than he would have been a year ago.

The Islington middleweight, who was originally scheduled to take on Khomitsky in the autumn of 2014, finally gets his chance later this month at the Copper Box Arena.

And Ryder, who is aiming to haul himself back into the frame for a third shot at the British championship – having lost his second of those to Nick Blackwell last year – knows he cannot afford another defeat.

“It was over a year since we were meant to fight and it didn’t happen for one reason or another,” said the former Angel ABC amateur.

“Looking back at the mistakes I’ve made since then, you think if that fight had happened a year ago, it could have been a bad night for me. But now I feel it is a fight that I will definitely win.

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“My diet and training has changed a lot since losing to Blackwell. The most important thing in a loss is to learn from it.

“I don’t want to lose any more fights and I know that I have put in hard work and the right type of work to get the win.”

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Yet the 27-year-old, who has triumphed in 21 of his 23 professional fights, is certainly not underestimating Khomitsky ahead of their clash for the vacant WBA international title on Saturday January 30.

Now 41, Khomitsky boasts an impressive CV – he is a former European champion at super-middleweight and demolished Frank Buglioni on his previous appearance at the Copper Box Arena nearly two years ago.

“There’s a fear factor for me in this fight, 100 per cent,” said Ryder. “I’m doing things majorly differently to how I’ve approached fights before. That element of fear is in me as I know what Khomitsky is capable of.

“Take no notice of his age – the last thing to go in a fighter is their power. He’ll have that until the end, so I know that this is a dangerous fight.

“He’s showed power at super-middleweight and then shown that he can make middleweight and keep that power. He’s had plenty of time to prepare for this fight, so I expect him to be at his best.”

The Matchroom show is headed by George Groves, who faces Andrea di Luisa for the vacant WBC international super-middleweight crown, with three other title fights on the undercard.

Tickets, priced at £40, £60 and £100, are on sale at or by calling 0871 230 7148 (Calls cost 10p per minute plus network access charge).

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