Ryder aims to crash into big time of boxing with a Vegas world title win on Saturday
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North Londoner meets Bilal Akkawy for interim WBA world super middleweight strap
Islington super middleweight John Ryder will now face unbeaten rival Bilal Akkawy over 12 rounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The pair will meet for the interim WBA world super middleweight title after Ryder’s original opponent, Canada’s David Lemieux, withdrew through injury.
The contest is promoted by Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn and provides the chief supporting contest to the world middleweight unification showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs.
Southpaw Ryder, the former Angel amateur, star has a paid career record of 27 victories (15 inside) against four losses (one inside) and this will be the biggest fight of his professional career so far.
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It will also be the first fight Stateside for the 30-year-old north Londoner.
In the opposite corner will be Sydney’s Akkawy, a 25-year-old with a professional career record of 20 wins (16 inside) against one draw.
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Like Lemieux, Akkawy has a reputation for being a big puncher and was already in training for a fight that was due to take place on May 2 in the United States.
The Australian’s team jumped at the chance of meeting Ryder when the Canadian withdrew from their interim world title clash.
Akkawy is little known in British fight circles, with his career having taken place almost exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.
In more recent times, though, he has boxed and triumphed on two occasions in the United States.
Saturday’s encounter is an intriguing one in that Ryder has boxed in far higher quality company than his opponent.
Akkawy, however, is younger and can punch hard, so cannot be dismissed lightly, but his firepower could be exposed on the night have not fought at a higher level before.
Ryder is always in great shape and has been preparing for this world title tilt for some months now.
It is a real chance for the 30-year-old to crash into boxing’s big time and earn big money purses.
The bout is a difficult one to call, but Ryder’s greater experience should give him the edge.