Islington’s Ryder relishing a return to ring action after ‘family-first’ lockdown focus

John Ryder media Workout, Matchrrom Boxing Gym, Essex.
7th November 2019
Picture By Mark Robinson.

John Ryder media Workout, Matchrrom Boxing Gym, Essex. 7th November 2019 Picture By Mark Robinson. - Credit: Mark Robinson

John Ryder, Islington’s world super-middleweight contender, took time out to speak about life under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and hopes for his future and that of professional boxing.

Callum Smith v John Ryder, WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight title fight,

Callum Smith v John Ryder, WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight title fight, M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool. 23rd November 2019 Picture By Mark Robinson. - Credit: Mark Robinson

Ryder, who has a five-year-old daughter Heidi and nine-month-old son Brody, is keen to get back in the ring as soon as it is safe to do so, not least to earn money to support his family.

Having not fought since a very disputed loss to WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith last November, Ryder said: “At present none of us have any idea when we might be cleared to box again. I’m hoping to have a Covid-19 test soon.

“Depending on the outcome of that, I hope that it might be possible to return to the gym in a safe and secure way perhaps in the early part of June. But we will just have to wait and see how things transpire.

“If I was asked to box on a show behind closed doors, provided there was sufficient time to prepare safely for it, I would have to consider it carefully.

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“It would be strange not to have a crowd there, especially your own fans not being present. But it might be interesting from a judging point of view as there would be no chance of them being influenced by the crowd. It could perhaps be good for boxing in the short term.”

That comment seemed a clear reference to his points loss against Smith in his hometown of Liverpool – and the wide points range – and Ryder stressed that at present he has no clear idea when or whom he might next box.

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A return fight with Smith would be to his liking, but that does not seem likely for the foreseeable future and going over to the United States, although appealing to him, has no more certainty than action does over here.

Boxing remains on hold and will come back sooner or later, but although he has managed to undertake some running of late and exercises regularly at home, Ryder misses the camaraderie and “craic” of the gym.

“Lockdown has given me more time with Nancy (John’s long-term partner), Heidi and Brody,” he said.

“I missed quite a lot of the time when Heidi was growing up because of some long training camps and the fights themselves, so it has been nice to really focus on parenthood and the joys and problems that brings.

“Brody doesn’t sleep that well, other than in his pram and I must have walked miles and miles of late trying to get him to sleep!”

In his last few fights – four stoppage wins and the Smith setback – Ryder has seemed a much more mature, confident and polished performer.

Explaining the perceived change in his performances, he added: “The move up to super-middleweight has been great for me, I am much more comfortable boxing at 12 stone than I was latterly at middleweight at 11 stone 6lbs.

“Everything about my training camps and my management team is first class. Tony (Sims) my trainer is superb with me in the gym and he always has a great game plan for everyone I box.

“His son Charlie is an important part of the management team, looking after the business side of my career and Dan Lawrence is invaluable too as Director of Performance. I am fortunate to have such great guys behind me so I can concentrate 100 per cent on the job in hand.”

Ryder realises boxing is a tough trade and everyone at top international level, as he is now, has a limited shelf life, but he still is living the dream and aiming to earn big purses to help set him and his family up for life.

“I will know when it is time to go, there are many ways of earning an easier living than boxing,” he added.

“I want my fans to stay on board during these strange times and I want to do well and my aim is still to bring the world championship back to Islington and north London.

“This is where I come from, and with the family growing up now we will eventually need a bigger place and a garden, perhaps somewhere out in the country. Winning the world title will help make that move that bit closer.”

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