British boxing star John Ryder has vowed to bounce back from his crushing defeat to Canelo Alvarez last year that left him ‘feeling sorry for himself’ after having his nose broken in round two – as he bids to stun Jaime Munguia on Saturday night.
Ryder took the feared Mexican to a points decision last summer- which he lost unanimously in the pound-for-pound star’s home country – having climbed off the canvas in round five while also nursing his stricken nose.
He admits it was a ‘daunting’ experience but one that forced him to ‘dig deep’, with an increased desire to keep on fighting at the age of 35.
Ryder openly says he does not have too many big nights left in the square circle, so wants to make every fight count now – starting with another huge challenge against the unbeaten Munguia in Phoenix this weekend.
He’s up against another tough Mexican fighter with an impressive KO rate, but after going toe-to-toe with Canelo last time out and showing his battle-hardened spirit, Ryder has been given a second wind.
British boxing star John Ryder is hoping to stun unbeaten Mexican fighter Jaime Munguia
He is hoping to bounce back against Munguia – who has 42 straight victories – after losing to Canelo Alvarez last summer
‘After the Canelo defeat it was one of those that I felt win, lose or draw I could sail off into the sunset,’ he told Mail Sport exclusively.
‘But walking into the dressing room, I thought, “I can’t wait to go again”. I didn’t want to drop down levels. I didn’t want to get back to the silly six or eight rounders and lower the standard I’ve been operating at and Munguia did that for me. It’s a fight at the right time and I think it’s a great fight.
Ryder had to go into the trenches against Canelo, who took him into a place he had rarely been in his career – which has so far seen him stopped only once – against Nick Blackwell in 2015.
He recalled the ‘defining moment’ after having his nose broken in the early stages – determined to pull through despite fearing the worst.
‘It was daunting,’ he added. ‘But I did the preparation long before it happened with my mindset coach Greg Meehan. The fight didn’t pan out how I hoped, but I took myself there so many times visually. I heard the boos in my head [before the fight] and I don’t think it affected me at all.
Ryder was downed for the first time in his career against Canelo and also suffered a broken nose
‘I did feel sorry for myself for a bit. There was three rounds where I thought “this is my defining moment” and then in the second round I had my nose broken – the first time in my career since starting boxing at 13. All the times for it to break is now. It was a new experience. I dug deep, got dropped in the fifth – another new experience – and got up and decided to dig deep again and go for it.’
That grittiness will serve him well when he faces Munguia – who will not be letting up in the slightest as he targets his own fight with Canelo should he be victorious here.
Ryder was not best pleased about the idea of Munguia looking past him.
He wants to fight Canelo so I’ve got to go in there now, scupper his plans and ruin his dreams,’ he said. ‘This fight is a must-win for me. To be the first blip of a 42-year-old fighter’s record would be amazing.’
Ryder was adamant that his opponent has shown vulnerabilities despite his unblemished record in the sport.
‘His record is immaculate but it’s not that [different] from other fighters,’ he said.
He believes Munguia – pictured fighting Liam Smith in 2018 – has shown weaknesses in his career
He is targeting a big win over Munguia before two big more fights to close out his career
‘The standout [win] is Liam Smith for me but he’s shown vulnerabilities in his last fights. His fight against Derevyanchenko – he was in a lot of trouble at times. Derevyanchenko is not a super-middleweight, so I think this is going to play in my hands. I feel strong and I think my results have shown I can mix it with the best at this weight.
‘I would shout it from the rooftops – I wish I had this fight ten years ago. I think it would have given me such better stead for my pro career. I’ve learnt so much about the fight game, about myself. In boxing you can’t have too many hard nights. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t been to war too often. I’m relishing the opportunity to go into another big fight and show people what I’ve got.’
Ryder also had news about his future – revealing that he is planning two more huge fights after Munguia, one in the summer and one close to Christmas time before ‘going out with a bang’.
He is already drawing up plans to become a pundit and be more involved with coaching after he hangs up the gloves.
When asked what his perfect 2024 would be, he replied: ‘Beat Munguia January 27, nice rest up for February with the family, then we get straight into camp and look for a big summer showdown against another big name. We get a win there, then we finish 2024 with a winter time fight – November or December and go out with a bang.
Ryder wants to ‘go out with a bang’ before turning to coaching and punditry within boxing
‘For me now, it’s fight by fight. I’m 35 and I want to take more from boxing than boxing takes from me. Will I be doing this in 2025? I don’t think so. I think I’ll be on the other side of the world helping to train fighters. As long as the fire is still burning I’ll still be there.
‘It would be nice to give back – do a bit of punditry, a bit of coaching. I have to find a good balance between being a parent and being a boxing coach. They’re very supportive and back me 110 per cent, but how long is that going to go on? My kids wonder why we can’t go on holiday because daddy’s in camp.’
Ryder is yet to realise his ultimate dream of becoming a world champion – and feels he was unlucky not to clinch that goal after his decision loss to Callum Smith in 2019 – but said for now, his priority is to be in as many big fights as possible before he calls it a day.
‘I always thought I’d go up and reach this level but I didn’t realise it would be full of loops and snakes and ladders,’ he added. ‘I’ve not won a world title yet, the dream was always to be a world champion.
‘A world title would still be the dream and I’d love to win one but the way boxing works and the politics – they’re all held up by Canelo. If one becomes available I’d love to fight for it. For now I’m just out there to box the biggest and best fights I can.’