Ryder roars to Liverpool victory in warm-up for British title eliminator

John Ryder in action against Luke Robinson (left)

John Ryder in action against Luke Robinson (left) - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

John Ryder made a hastily-arranged comeback on Saturday – and says the experience has really whetted his appetite for next month’s British middleweight title eliminator.

The Islington fighter was drafted in at short notice to take on George Kandelaki in a six-round contest on the Matchroom show at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.

It was Ryder’s first outing since last September’s narrow defeat by Billy Joe Saunders in their British and Commonwealth title clash, and he eased to a comfortable victory against his Georgian opponent.

And the 25-year-old southpaw believes the bout, which served as a warm-up for his British title eliminator against Jez Wilson on April 5, came at the perfect time.

“I only found out on Thursday morning, but I jumped at the opportunity when it came up because it seemed like ideal preparation and a chance to blow away the cobwebs,” Ryder told the Gazette.

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“It was the first time I’d ever been to Liverpool, but I found it was a lovely city and I’d like to go back there and box again.

“I was nice and fit and the weight wasn’t a problem.”

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“Basically it was like a good sparring session, but it was more about confidence-building. It felt great to get back in the ring and it was also useful to work with [trainer] Tony Sims in the corner for the first time.

“Now I’ve just got to be ready for April – there’s no lack of motivation and I’m buzzing for it.”

The former Angel ABC star had to wait until 11.30pm to enter the ring, but he was completely on top from the first bell and dropped Kandelaki in the opening round.

The Georgian survived, but always looked second best as Ryder landed a series of right jabs and left hooks and referee Steve Gray awarded him the decision by 60 points to 53.

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