Controversy as Ryder loses to champ on points

Thursday, 28th November 2019 — By Steve Barnett

John Ryder

John Ryder

DEFIANT John Ryder says he proved that he “belongs on the world scene” on Saturday following his controversial defeat against WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith.

Southpaw Ryder, who was born and raised in Islington, overcame Smith’s height and reach advantage to put in an eye-catching performance at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.

Ryder took the fight to the champion in his own city, and, having traded heavy blows throughout the contest, looked to have given the three judges a tough decision to make after 12 closely fought rounds.

The 31-year-old was left stunned, however, when the fight was unanimously awarded in Smith’s favour, with the judges scoring it 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.

“I’ve gone in against the world number one and feel like I edged it,” said former Angel ABC amateur Ryder.

“I have proven myself on the world scene and deserve to come again. He is a great fighter but I live and breathe this.

“I re-locate, I am there day in and day out. We have not had the rub of the green but that is boxing.

“I feel that was harsh. I feel I forced the fight a lot and did enough to win.”

Pundit Steve Bunce, who was covering the fight for BBC Radio 5 live, said after the final bell: “They (Smith’s team) know tonight they have got away with it. I have no problem with Smith winning by a round or two but those scores in my opinion are a little bit wide.”

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