John Ryder is closing in on a fight with 168-pound king Callum Smith. “The Gorilla” is now very much in the world title mix after knocking out Andrey Sirotkin in seven rounds at the Copper Box on Saturday evening.
Ryder had slight issues trying to work out the moves of Sirotkin who had adopted an orthodox stance was happy to stand and let his right hand go. The Russian had a couple of noteworthy wins on the record, including a defeat of charismatic Nicaraguan Ricardo Mayorga, who was significantly past his best and way above his ideal fighting weight. More impressive was a March 2018 success over undefeated Canadian Ryan Ford.
John was still trying to work out the moves of his opponent in the third round. Slippery and content with his work, Sirotkin was reminiscent of European level mover and fellow countryman Sergey Tatevosyan (there’s a name for you) with his awkwardly effective skills.
Ryder was in need of a boost by the sixth and was aiming for the body in an attempt to slow Sirotkin down. Cut but improving, Ryder entered the seventh with renewed vigour.
Sirotkin was feeling a little sorry for himself as Ryder upped the pressure in the seventh. Touching down -not from a knockdown but clearly feeling the pace- Sirotkin was dramatically wilting. The Russian was genuinely felled at the round’s end from a body shot. Spitting the gumshield out, it seemed that Sirotkin was ready to box on, but referee Terry O’Connor waved it off at 2-54 and pushed the British southpaw victor on towards a crack at world glory.
“I’ve got the fuel in me, I can go through the gears,” said Ryder. “At middleweight, I didn’t have that. Styles make fights, and I believe I can beat the best on my day.”
Trainer Tony Sims added: “The fight was tight when he got cut. As you can see, John’s heavy-handed at super-middleweight. Since he’s moved up a weight, he’s been a completely different fighter. Once you’re in there for a world title fight, anyone can win it. He’s got a great opportunity now to go and do that.”
Ted Cheeseman won the vacant British super-welterweight title with a resounding unanimous decision victory over game Asinia Byfield.
Switch-hitting Byfield was confident beforehand, but Cheeseman’s relentless aggression and raking body assaults were taking their toll early on. Byfield was dropped in round five while spinning out of reach and seemingly planning an exit strategy. Asinia wasn’t overly hurt, but it wasn’t a good look as the co-challenger was visibly struggling.
Byfield had suffered personal tragedy in his life, so there was no doubting his fighter’s heart. The Londoner’s best win was over Sammy McNess, who himself lost again on Friday night to Michael McKinson. Upping his work in the sixth, here, Byfield needed to find something special to keep marauding Cheeseman off him.
Ultimately Byfield was only able to hang in and take his lumps – which he did with heart and bottle. A fight between Cheeseman and domestic rival Anthony Fowler is something that the fans would be interested in seeing. Liverpool’s Fowler doesn’t often take a back step, and neither does Millwall fan Cheeseman.
In a battle of British cruiserweights who were unable to solve the Rubix cube that is Lawrence Okolie, it was Isaac Chamberlain who pushed himself back into the mix with a points win over Luke Watkins. Brixton’s Chamberlain pulled the fight out of the fire with a big final round that saw him rock and wobble Watkins.
The Swindon man seemed to have weathered the storm, but he went down with literally seconds left. That proved the difference as Chamberlain won 95-94 on the referee’s scorecard. Watkins can pick up a belt again while Chamberlain fancies a second crack at Okolie. That would likely be pointless, and both men should probably move on to other opponents.
Unbeaten Jordan Gill is the new Commonwealth featherweight champion after stopping Ryan Doyle in the seventh-round of their clash.