The dust has settled on Callum Smith’s impressive win in the WBSS and all the talk is now about Rocky Fielding vs Canelo but a key fight in the Super-Middleweight division is about to take place on October 27 at the Copper box and it should not go under the radar. Riding the momentum of his spectacular win against former WBSS contestant and Groves’ victim Jamie Cox, former British title challenger John Ryder (26-4, 14 kos) is determined to make up at world level for his domestic short comings when he faces unbeaten Andrey Sirotkin (15-0, 4 kos) in a final eliminator for Smith’s Super title.

BRITISHBOXERS: After 3 unlucky attempts to win the British title, did you take a conscious decision to leave the domestic scene behind for good and go straight for world honours?

JOHN RYDER: No, it wasn’t my intention but you have to take fights as they come. After beating Patrick Nielsen, who was highly ranked by 3 of the 4 major sanctioning bodies, it was logical to capitalise on the win and crash the world scene.

BB: At this moment, both the Regular and the Super WBA Super-middleweight titles are in Matchroom’s camp. Did you discuss with Eddie Hearn which way you’re going if you win?

JR: This fight is an eliminator for the Super WBA title but Eddie said it’s unsure when Callum is going to be back as he is going to take some time off. He had a massive workload with the Super Series and might not come back till summer. He spoke of the possibility of a rematch with Rocky in early 2019. It depends how his next fight goes, though.

BB: What would be your personal choice?

JR: They are both great fighters. If Canelo happens to beat Rocky as most people expect, I would jump on the chance to fight him. But with his star power, there is no telling what he would do. Regardless, if I pass Sirotkin I am very much in contention with any governing body. I definitely believe the next fight will be a world title shot but not necessarily only for the WBA.

BB: What is your pick for Canelo-Fielding?

JR: I would have to go for Canelo as he is at pound-for-pound top of the food chain level, but my hat off to Rocky for taking the fight. Good luck to him.

BB: There’s not much to read in Sirotkin’s record. What do you know about him?

JR: Not a great deal. Only Mayorga name stands out of his resume and he was way past his best. The safest measure stick is his win on Ryan Ford, who’s a good gatekeeper to step up to world level. But all his fights happened in Russia where he got away with a lot of holding. The record does not indicate a big puncher. His style is quite negative, he throws a few shots then gets on his bike. But, he has a good Amateur pedigree and they raise them tough in Russia. Taking both negatives and positives in consideration, I think he will be a handful.

BB: So how are you going to approach the fight?

JR: I am a counter puncher but in this case I think I will have to bring it to him early. I have to get in his range and force the pace to make him work, get him out of his comfort zone. I am not going in looking for a stoppage, I am happy to go the distance.

BB: What is your assessment of the division at world level outside of the WBA?

JR: Ramirez (WBO) is a good fighter but has not shown his best yet. Uzcategui (IBF) has not won the title in the ring, he has been upgraded from Interim. The WBC is vacant with Dirrel fighting for it. I definitely see space for me to fit in. Callum is a league above anybody else, but the others are beatable.

BB: If you make it past Sirotkin and win a world title, would you be looking at unification fights or big domestic blockbusters?

JR: It would be nice to be a unified champion but when you are at that level the smart thing to do is to go where the money is. Time at that top is often short lived.

BB: Talking about domestic matches, what is your take on DeGale vs. Eubank Jr fight?

JR: If DeGale is back to what he was once was, he wins hands down. He has quick feet, good defence and fast hands. The premises of this fight are similar to the Groves-Eubank 1. I would definitely be interested in fighting the winner.

We wish John all the very best of luck this weekend in his fight.


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