Islington fighter recovers from early blow to win international title

John Ryder (grey shorts) defeated Sergey Khomitsky to win the vacant WBA international middleweight

John Ryder (grey shorts) defeated Sergey Khomitsky to win the vacant WBA international middleweight title. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo - Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGS Photo

Islington’s John Ryder overcame an early setback to see off the dangerous Sergey Khomitsky and win the vacant WBA international middleweight title.

The 27-year-old former Angel ABC amateur sustained a cut above his right eye during the second of 12 rounds on Saturday at the Copper Box Arena.

But Ryder hit back in the fifth round, inflicting similar damage on his opponent, and went on to win the fight – and the vacant belt – on all three judges’ scorecards.

It was an impressive victory against the experienced Belarus boxer, who had stopped both Frank Buglioni and Adam Etches, as well as drawing with British champion Nick Blackwell, on recent visits to the UK.

Ryder – who needed eight stitches to repair the cut after the fight – told the Gazette: “People don’t realise just how tough he was. [Trainer] Tony Sims told me how to box him and I did what I was told.”

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Ryder – who is aiming to manoeuvre himself into position for a third shot at the British title after his defeat by Blackwell last year – was content to wait for openings and catch Khomitsky with his southpaw right jabs.

Despite the cut in round two, Ryder managed to open up when he got in close, unloading a series of combinations and rattling his opponent with a hard right hook.

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The better quality punches came from Ryder during the second half of the fight and the judges awarded him the win, 117-112, 116-112, 115-113.

The win took Ryder’s professional record to 22 successes and just two defeats, both in British title fights.

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