Islington middleweight John Ryder wants a proper fight at the O2 Arena
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Islington middleweight John Ryder is looking forward to facing the experienced Argentine fighter Billi Facundo Godoy in his first defence of the WBO inter-continental title at the O2 Arena on Saturday.
The former Angel ABC amateur, who defeated Theophilus Tetteh to win the belt in October, was due to face Les Sherrington, but the Australian had to withdraw with a foot injury.
It is the second time in as many fights that Ryder’s initial opponent has pulled out, but the 26-year-old is fully focused on the job.
“I think I will be more shocked if the opponent stays in for the duration,” joked Ryder, who has won 19 of his 20 professional contests to date.
“Normally they ring you and say ‘the opponent has pulled out and we are looking’, but my trainer Tony Sims texted me and said ‘we’ve got a new opponent’ and to have a look at him.
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“I did and I thought ‘you know what, this is a much better fight’. He’s had 34 fights and got 31 wins so that’s nothing to be sniffed at.”
Ryder is hoping his opponent is game for a contest after becoming frustrated with Tetteh in his last outing.
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Ryder said: “The last fight I trained for, I was planning to fight Sergey Khomitsky, who I knew would come to fight, but his replacement just didn’t want to know.
“I took a lot of stick about that, but at the end of the day if an opponent comes and doesn’t want to fight, if they aren’t throwing any punches, it gets a bit boring.
“I know that’s the name of the game, hitting them and not getting hit yourself, but you like to try and avoid something. You can only beat what’s in front of you though.”
Ryder became a father for the first time in August and says time spent with his partner Nancy and daughter Heidi makes him even more determined to be a success in the ring.
He said: “I think it has made me even more hungry now I’ve got a family to provide for. It’s a good feeling.
“It has probably made me a bit softer indoors now but that doesn’t come into the ring with me. It is a great release. You’ve got boxing and then looking after a baby.
“I’m in the gym working hard and then I come home and I’m making silly little noises.”
Ryder’s only defeat was to Billy-Joe Saunders on points in 2013 – and Saunders is set to fight for a world title this year.
Ryder said: “It is a matter of opinion but I think I’ve given Billy-Joe his best fight to date. People might say that Nick Blackwell or Chris Eubank Jr did, but I think I pushed him the closest.”
Ryder goes by the nickname ‘The Gorilla’ and says he could become more outspoken to get fights.
“That’s the way I prefer to be. I like to be quietly confident, but maybe it would help if I did shout my mouth off a bit,” he said.
“I don’t believe I have to call out people because I believe in the team I’ve got around me.”
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