Last Saturday at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, hometown fighter Callum Smith successfully defended his WBA & WBC Super Middleweight titles against game Londoner John Ryder over 12 rounds.
The fight was a hard won affair for Smith, who is now undefeated in 27 fights after making his 2nd defence of the WBA title he stopped George Groves for last year. Ryder, a brave and talented challenger who’s stock seemed to rise even in defeat, took the champion all the way, controversially landing more punches than Smith.
The fight started as some predicted, with the challenger being a physical, bull like fighter standing at only 5ft9, (5 inches shorter than the champ), he had success pressing the fight and getting close to Smith to let off combinations.
A talented southpaw in his own right, Ryder was able to close the distance with good upper body movement and land body and torso punches up close.
As the fight went later, Smith attempted to establish his range, using his significant height and reach advantage to keep the Londoner at bay. This provided small success but it became clear that Smith would need to fight fire with fire and began unloading heavier shots in the middle rounds. The fight continued to ebb and flow between them, both suffering cuts and taking some heavy shots, until the final bell, which saw Smiths hand raised after judges scored the fight 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 which arguably doesn’t do Ryders efforts justice.
On the undercard, Bournemouth Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith blasted Craig Glover in 5 rounds to win the commonwealth championship. Glover hit the deck 3 times before the fight eventually came to a close. In hindsight it appeared a referee or corner stoppage should of occurred earlier but both men left the ring healthy regardless.