John Ryder is hoping to prove that size isn’t everything when he challenges Liverpool’s super middleweight king Callum Smith for his WBA super championship at the M&S Bank Arena on Saturday November 23rd, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US. Smith towered over Ryder at their press conference stare down photos back in September but "The Gorilla" isn’t fazed by the significant size difference in the slightest and even thinks he will be able to use it to his advantage as he bids to lay waste to Smith’s ambitious plans for 2020. “I just think that it’s a fight of two styles isn’t it,” said Ryder. “It’s like the little and large show. You’ve got me, 5′ 9″ and you’ve got him, 6′ 3”. He’s going to try and do what he does best and I’m going to try and do what I do best and get in close. It’s just about who can get their game plan off better on the night.
“He’s an absolute unit. He’s a massive man mountain and he’s barely put a foot wrong. He’s had such a good career so far, but I believe that I can derail that. He’s beat good fighters but I believe now is my time and timing is everything in boxing.
“I’m going to bring something that he’s probably seen in the amateurs but as a pro I don’t think he’s had the pleasure of. I’m a slick southpaw and I can punch hard with both hands. Height is his advantage but I believe that being shorter is sometimes an advantage as well, getting under the shots and working the body and over to the head, so I believe that will play into my hands as well.”
Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) comes into the title shot off a seventh-round technical knockout win against previously undefeated Russian Andrey Sirotkin in their final eliminator clash in London last October. He then continued his winning ways by stopping Bilal Akkawy to win the vacant interim WBA title last time out on the undercard of Saul Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and in doing so kept himself in line for an all-British showdown for Smith’s crown.
“He’s the champion and he deserves to be the champion, he’s beaten a champion and a good fighter to win it and I’ve earned this shot. Many people said that I was trying to avoid him and I was looking for an easier route – no chance. I fought an eliminator for this title, I even fought in another eliminator in Vegas to get this title. I’ve earned this shot now and I deserve to be here.
“I feel like I’ve developed all round as a man and a boxer. I just feel so physically and mentally strong. I feel like I’ve become a man over the last couple of years and I’m in the best position that I could possibly be in. Winning a World title would be 19 years of hard work, grit, smiles, tears and heartache all coming together on one big night and a dream come true.”
Smith vs. Ryder tops a huge night of action in Liverpool Craig Glover (10-2, 8 KOs) takes on Chris Billam-Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight title, Anthony Fowler (10-1, 8 KOs) meets Harry Scarff (8-0, 1 KO) at 154 pounds, James Tennyson (25-3, 21 KOs) and Craig Evans (20-2-2, 3 KOs) square-off in a final eliminator for the British lightweight title, Tom Farrell (17-2, 5 KOs) clashes with Sean Dodd (16-5-1, 3 KOs) in a must-win encounter for both men, Liverpool light heavy Thomas Whittaker-Hart (3-0, 1 KO) aims to end his first year as a pro in style and Liverpool light welterweight Marcus Molloy (1-0) and Skelmersdale Welterweight Tom Aitchson (1-0) both go for their second win in the pro ranks.