Callum Smith's latest WBA super middleweight title defense nearly ended in disaster thanks to a spirited effort from John Ryder.
Smith narrowly escaped Liverpool, England with a unanimous decision win over Ryder in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card that was streamed on DAZN in the United States. Smith won the bout with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.
Despite the scores seemingly indicated that the bout was one-sided at times, it was hardly that. From the start, Ryder prevented Smith from getting into any rhythm by consistently going to the inside and punching away at Smith's body. Though neither fighter was seriously hurt, it was Ryder, who came into the fight with a clear height and reach disadvantage, who was the aggressor in various rounds.
Smith did have his opportunities to utilize the jab to keep Ryder away from his ribs, even landing a crisp-looking right hand in the sixth round, Smith's best punch of the bout up to that point. The two fighters engaged in plenty of back-and-forth action in the second half of the fight with Ryder seemingly gaining the advantage with an impressive boxing display in the 11th round.
Ryder's efforts ultimately did not reward him with a world title and his four-fight win streak is snapped. As for Smith, his hopes of getting a title defense at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool remain alive as are the possibilities of him taking on the likes of WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo Alvarez, who is coming off a WBO light heavyweight title win over Sergey Kovalev earlier this month.
Here are the results for the DAZN main card of the November 23 Matchroom Boxing card from Liverpool:
- Callum Smith defeated John Ryder by unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 116-112) to retain the WBA “Super,” Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond super middleweight titles
- Chris Billam-Smith defeated Craig Glover by TKO, round 5, 1:45 to win the Commonwealth cruiserweight title
- Anthony Fowler defeated Harry Scarff by unanimous decision (98-91, 98-91, 98-91) to win the WBA International junior middleweight title
- Thomas Whittaker-Hart defeated Josip Perkovic by RSC, round 5, 1:26
- Sean Dodd defeated Tom Farrell by majority technical decision (38-38, 39-37, 39-38) after four rounds in a British junior welterweight title eliminator
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