Boxing - Ryder will find Wilson coming forward

Islington middleweight John Ryder (16-1) returns to York Hall, London on April 5 when he takes on Wolverhampton’s Jez Wilson (11-1) in a British title eliminator, taking place alongside Matchroom's next Prizefighter instalment.

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Billy Joe Saunders (left) fights John Ryder (right) (PA)

Both fighters claim they have been more than happy with their training camps and, although they have been generous in the respect they have shown each other, both are confident of their front-foot styles and ambitious in their plans should the fight go their way.

Southpaw Ryder is highly regarded amongst boxing aficionados. Since a wafer-thin points loss to unbeaten British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, the 25 year old Londoner has been hard at it in training.

“I've been in the gym since the first week in January. Non stop training, with some new and improved methods now that I’m working on with [trainer] Tony Sims.”

On March 15 in Liverpool, after midnight, Ryder warmed up against Georgian George Kandelaki over six rounds, cruising to a 60-53 shutout win and sending Kandelaki down in the second:

”It was a good opportunity to box on March 15 in Liverpool which I believe has blown the cobwebs away slightly."

This was Ryder's first appearance in Merseyside, but not his first outside of London. The Islington middleweight has already gained experience fighting on Matchroom cards around the UK.

At 34, Wilson has nine years on Ryder but has competed in less bouts and performed exclusively in Yorkshire and Lancashire. But he’s not perturbed about coming to London

"I'm glad to be boxing at York Hall. It's a prestigious venue to box at and I'm grateful for the opportunity. I know I seem to have been in the North for my fights but I know boxing away from there isn't going to effect me, as at the end of the day, when the bell rings, it's me against Ryder and we could be anywhere so nothing else will matter."

Similarly, Ryder's concentration will be fully fixed on Wilson when the first bell goes in East London as he knows little about what to expect from his next opponent. "I'm slightly limited on knowledge of Jez Wilson as there's nothing on YouTube of him fighting," said the favourite. "So I'm going to have to stick to my boxing and suss him out as the fight progresses."

Wilson can use plenty of videos to research Ryder. He highlights fitness as key aspect to the fight:

"As both me and John like to go forward which will make for a great fight."

Wilson has won three of his last five by stoppage, but back in 2010, having floored his opponent Farai Musiyiwa in round one, he steamed in to finish the job but got caught clean himself, leading the referee to stop the contest and handing Wilson his only loss to date.

It was a gung-ho attitude by his own admission: "The Musiyiwa fight for me was a big learning curve. I had him down on his face in the first and never thought he'd get up. From then on I just ran in and tried getting him out of there and he caught me with a few hard shots and broke my nose badly and the fight got stopped."

Although Ryder beat the Musiyiwa relatively comfortably, Wilsonn doesn't put too much stock in the respective results: "I don't read too much into it as Musiyiwa could bang a little bit."

Wilson believes his defeat has improved him: "I was gutted but in the long run it did me some good as I learnt a lot from that fight, a lot more from just blasting him out in the first round. I'm a different fighter to what I was then so don't look too much into that," said the underdog.

The respect between the fighters is admirable, and Wilson acknowledges that Ryder poses a serious challenge: "I've seen him box a few times and he's obviously where he is because he knows what he's doing and can fight.

"I'm not one for predictions, as I don't want to look past John, but I'm 34 now so want to try and achieve as much as I can in the limited amount of time I have left so let's just see what happens on April 5. I think it's most UK boxers dream about boxing for a British title and this is a great opportunity for me. I'm fitter then I've ever been and ready for it.

Ryder is equally focused on the task at hand, but when coaxed he admitted he wants to get back to a level where he's challenging for titles:

”I'm going to take every fight as it comes. We'll assess the situation as we progress and see what routes we go down, but ultimately I'd like and want to be champion of the world. I'm lucky at the moment that the middleweight division is booming and there's plenty of fights out there."

Ryder v Wilson takes place at the York Hall on April 5, along with Prizefighter Welterweights. The sold out show will be shown on Sky Sports.

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