@_John_Ryder_ Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

John, firstly thanks for your time. Just watched you sparring two different guys this morning, you look in great shape. 

Last time we saw you in action was your impressive KO of Billi Godoy in January.

Have you watched the fight back since and what did you make of your performance?

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John Ryder:

I’ve got it taped on my Sky box at home and I’ve watched it to round three so far.

Do you know what it was a bit one paced, slow and monotonous. I think I started good 1st round, 2nd round I went out I caught him with a good left hand and he seemed to change tactics – adapted and went on the back-foot. 

That took me out of my comfort zone a bit as I like to box a bit and fight on the back-foot – but that’s something to work on. I will watch it in time and right the wrongs.



I think it was a difficult opponent to prepare for as not to sound like a broken record – it was another late change of opponent for you.

I suspect you had a slightly disruptive camp as a consequence, but let’s to dwell on that – you went out there and got the win.

Godoy was tough, he was a spoiler and had no interest in attempting to engage with you. Despite all of that you did knock him out and I think you should get credit for that.



Yeah definitely. I’d be doing a lot of research on Les Sherrington on the lead up to the fight – then Tony (Sims) text me and told me Billi Godoy was now the opponent. I then looked at him and thought it would be a good match – in the previous fights I’ve seen he was non-stop punching and moving forward – which is perfect for me.

But like I say I caught him in the 2nd with a good shot, he closed up and retreated which was frustrating.

In the end the outcome was a good one and I got the win.



I know you said you haven’t watched the fight back yet – but a sentiment shared by a lot of people is that you received some unfair criticism post-fight on social network and from some of the media.

I’m sure you are your own worst critic but what is your response to that and is there anything you’d like to get off your chest about it?



Not really. Listen – people are always going to criticise, if I do something fantastic there will be knockers.

I think certain criticism was a bit harsh at the time. There was a lot read in to the criticism from Glenn McCroy (Skysports) but Glenn sent me a message the day after and explained – he has my best interests at heart.

Glenn wants me to do well and he knows what I’m capable of, it might not have come across well but you’ve got to respect the man. He was fighting for titles when I was a kid – he’s been around the game for a while so you’ve got to respect his opinion.



In terms of yourself and your future plans. You are expected to be out within the next 2 months – any news on who?



Potentially I was told April 25th at O2, but now with the DeGale purse bids being won elsewhere – I don’t know if that show will go on or not.

I’ve been training a good few weeks now and I feel I already have a good level of fitness. I want to continue to build on that & get my weight down gradually – so I will be ready whenever it comes.



You’ve recently comeback from Fuerteventura where you were there for ten days sparring with IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook.

Tell me how that experience was for you?



It was fantastic. I’d sparred Kell two years ago before he was due to fight Devon Alexander and he was different this time – you can see the champ’s mentality taking over.

He was different gravy – much more spite in his punches. Kell wanted to hurt me and take my head off!

He didn’t take my head off though or manage to knock me out – but he tried and fair play to him!

There are a lot of fighters that don’t try to take your head off and take their foot of the gas – he doesn’t and he is high intensity.

That’s where you learn the trade. Kell is a fantastic puncher and so natural. Certain things he done I asked him to try pick his brains and he just replies:

“I don’t know how I do it – it’s just natural!” 

What a talent.



You sparred Andy Lee WBO Middleweight world champion end of last year and now Kell.

Surely you must reflect on those two experiences where you held your own and say “I’m not too far away from that level?!”



Yeah there’s a difference between holding my own and wanting to push on – I’ve still got a way to go.

I think that the way to go isn’t in my ability – it’s in my mindset and belief, if there is anything I lack maybe it’s a lack of self-belief.

That’s something to work on and adapt and just keep trying.



John finally if we look at 2015 for you – where would you like to be in December and what are your aspirations?



It would be lovely to be on the verge of a world title – be it the WBO or another governing body. If I keep winning it’s not something out of my reach.

I think it’s a realistic goal so I’m going to keep working towards that.






@PeterJSims1 “A champion is a contender that never gave up”


Elite Boxing:

I’m here today with Peter “The Pirate” Sims and his rum!

2014 has been a good year for yourself – you’ve taken some extra fighters on and you are now back at your spiritual home in Hainault.

Firstly from your perspective, how has the year been for you when you reflect back?


Peter Sims:

It’s been alright Paul. As me and you just discussed – we’ve had some ups and some downs in the gym.

It started off on a down with the Wadi Camacho fight against Stephen Simmons, with Wadi getting stopped in the last round with a 1:54 to go. That wasn’t the best start to the year. For Tyler he won the English Light-Welter title at his second attempt, signed for Matchroom and the fight earlier last year against Tyrone Nurse he got beat.

So there has been some ups and downs.




In my opinion the Wadi fight with Simmons the build-up took a lot mentally out of him. You had the confrontation at the first press conference, then the Simmons injury and when it eventually came to the fight he perhaps had mentally exhausted himself.

Similar to what happened with Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly recently but on a different scale.



There is no excuses for the outcome of the fight. I don’t think it helped the fight being put off the first time. We went to Lanzarote for the training camp and the day before we were due to go Simmons had to pull out due to a costal cartilage injury in his rib. So that took a bit of spice out of the fight.

Then we had to wait – Wadi had a fight at York Hall in-between. When the fight did eventually happen it did go the way I wanted to as I wanted Wadi to spoil the war really. I wanted him to get on his back-foot, use his long reach and jab – then look to land a big shot in the middle to late rounds.

Unfortunately he got caught as a I said and that’s boxing, that’s life. It has been a massive defining point in his career now.



You could hear you telling him that on Sky. At the end of the 9th beginning of the 10th you said:

“This round will define will career”



I did tell him that. “This round will define your career and your life.” In both aspects; your boxing career and financially in your life. Unfortunately has nearly proven to be so. He has another half bite of the cherry with the Craig Kennedy fiasco up in Wales. We are looking to get him back on track really.



I do wish Wadi the best going in to 2015. With the news of him becoming a father it should give him extra impetus and more desire in his career.

Moving on to Tyler, he went in to the fight with Tyrone Nurse with various injuries. That fight didn’t go to plan but credit to Tyler he went back in the gym, worked his socks off and got his reward winning the English Light-Welter belt..

It was clear to see when I was here how hard he works – he was hardly out of breath.

The Ricky Boylan fight was one of the best I saw live last year.



Going back to the Nurse fight, we make no excuses but no one wanted to fight him. He was injured as is well documented but we took the fight.

Tyrone Nurse kept his word as before we fought him and I’d like to make a point for this as a lot of people don’t understand or take it on board – before we took we had a gentleman’s agreement that the winner would vacate the belt.

Nurse done what he said when he won which was decent of him and he kept his half of the bargain. We told him we had injuries before and they agreed to vacate if he won. A lot of people have claimed that they had mandatory positions and they let Tyler fight for the English against Boylan. Perhaps in the eyes of the British Boxing Board of Control others were mandatory but the gentleman’s agreement got us the Boylan fight.

Tyler done all that was asked of him against Boylan, switching tactics and he got a bad cut on the eyelid – he came out victorious and we are very proud of him as he deserved that.

My problem with Tyler is holding him back as he trains like a lunatic. I have to hold him back and monitor his runs so he doesn’t peak too early. I’ll say go do a 6 mile run and he’ll go do a 9 mile one!

That’s the sort of kid he is – he’s a pleasure to have in the gym.

He just loves a fight that kid. I’ve only ever seen two people in the gym like that; Tyler and Lee Purdy as they both love a fight. He doesn’t care about getting beat, he’s like a Mexican in a way as he just wants a scrap and he has nothing to lose but his pride.

As long as he keeps his pride and he does himself justice in a tear up. He’d rather come out of a fight battered and bruised than come out victorious by running away.

When Tyler wins the WBC International he will get a top 30 world ranking so we’d like to be in that place but he wants to go for the British Title and fulfill his dream. These WBC Silver’s and International’s are all well and good but he wants the domestic titles – the British or Commonwealth belts.

Let’s get the (John) Hibbert fight out-of-the-way first then we can focus on that.



Ben Hall is someone who you have taken on last year. A young fighter who already I can see has much more confidence in himself. When I first came down he seemed in awe of the stars of the gym; Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell, John Ryder and Anthony Joshua.

Physically Ben looks bigger, fitter than when he first joined. What kind of change and transition have you seen from him since he joined?



I’ve had Ben three months and he’s had 3 fights. He had two fights on Steve Goodwin bills and he had a fight on October 11th on the Matchroom O2 bill. It took three fights for me to get what was going on with him.

One thing he does as he’s a puncher is load-up on shots, secondly we discovered that he holds his breath and no one has ever told him any different. I couldn’t work out why he was getting so tired – it was a combination of nerves and adrenalin – he held his breath when he punched.

This made him take massive gasps of oxygen then holding – it was like fighting underwater. He’s a different kid from that now. I’ve loosened him up now, he was very stiff, very tight. Every shot had to be a big shot, he thought he could KO people with his jab.

In my opinion the kid is an absolute talent and go beyond domestic level – he has such fast hands, unbelievable power.

Ben has been sparring with John Ryder and John commented the other day: “He can properly punch that kid.”

Wait till he fills out to a proper Light-Middle, he’s only 21 and by the time he is 23-24 he will be a force in the Light-Middle division.



Jimmy Cooper is the other fighter you have and he’s got a busy start to 2015.



Yeah little Jimmy Cooper, it’s been a slow process with him, getting his licence done. He’s boxing on 25th February on a dinner show, nice and relaxed, no pressure of selling tickets or anything like that. Then 28th March he’s on a Steve Goodwin show in Portsmouth – he’s from Southampton.



Is it easy for Jimmy to travel up and train with you during the week?



He comes up and stays with Mark Seltzer’s at his house with Ricky Burns, he’s got a three bedroom house so he pays rent and that.

We are going away on 6th January, me, Tyler, Ben, Jimmy and we’re going out to the MGM Marbella Gym for sparing and a 12 day training camp prior to O2 bill.

Looking forward to getting away with them as the weather has been atrocious here recently.



With your stable now larger, I bet you’ve got some funny stories from the boys in camp?



Ben Hall has me in fits everyday. He’s a funny geezer. Ben is always on sun beds now, he’s got this thing about them. I bought him some moisturizer the other day – he came in the gym and he was orange!

But he hadn’t washed his hands and was an absolute classic! We always have a laugh in our gym every other day.

I’m just waiting to do the New Year’s general knowledge quiz, it’s 10 questions. We done one last year with Tony’s guys as well and I think Kevin Mitchell got 4 out of 10 he was the lowest. We have a great laugh doing that.

Ben has taken Tyler’s nickname of “The Log” as he’s thick as a plank.



Peter just wanted to thank you for all the access and introductions you’ve given me this year. I really appreciate it and look forward to catching up with you early this year.



Cheers Paul, thanks for the rum mate – been a pleasure.





@_John_Ryder_ interview by Paul Ready #CapitalPunishment


Elite Boxing:

John – 2015: The Year of The Gorilla. Shit gets real.

With the possibility of Heiland as an opponent,  are you at the point where you don’t care who you get as long as it’s top 10 in a governing body?


John Ryder:

Let’s have it. Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto – who ever wants it!

No, Jorge Sebastian Heiland – I love that as he’s got a great ranking with the WBC and the WBC International belt I’d love to have one of them.



What did you make of his fight against Matthew Macklin recently – was it a surprise to you how it went or did you half expect that performance?



No I didn’t. I thought Macklin was going to blow him out of the water. A lot of people were surprised – even the bookies were surprised and they don’t often get it wrong do they?

It is what it is. Who knows – maybe Macklin was at the end of his career and for Heiland it was the right time. It’s boxing, it takes one punch.

Although I felt Macklin was getting outboxed a bit, he caught and didn’t really recover.



You and I spoke recently about your sparring in France with Andy Lee. Experience wise how was that for you and did it strengthen your belief that you can mix it at world level even more?



Definitely. We had good spars, Andy is very technical and a good boxer. I don’t believe people appreciate just how good he is.


He has the Kronk DNA in him…


Exactly. He was under the watchful eye of Emanuel Steward for years and now Adam Booth. I know that Adam is a great tactician in fights so that is one thing he has in abundance.

He is in a good fight but for me I’m top ten in WBO – in 8 mths that is where I want to be fighting for a world title. It doesn’t have to be Vegas but it would be nice!



So route wise for yourself I know you have the WBO International now and if Heiland comes over you will turn your attentions to the WBC rankings.

For you whatever is the shortest route to a world title you will take?



Yeah I don’t really care which route. I’d like as many belts as I can on my mantle-piece. Whatever route pans out best for us. We are in a position where we can dip our toes in and mix it up a bit.

Fingers crossed we can get Heiland who is ranked at what number 3 I believe. That is a great ranking.



I know the past few months have been frustrating for you. How did you rate Nick Blackwell’s performance against Sergey Khomitsky?



Do you know what I thought Nick Blackwell was battering him, if it had gone any longer I think he would have stopped him.

Listen, this is how it goes in the fight game – things get changed at the last-minute and we have to do what we do.

It was frustrating to watch as the week before I should have been in there myself with Khomistky.



With Billy Joe Saunders now mandatory for WBO after the weekend. For you it’s been head down focusing on what you are doing in training.

Tell me how it has been for you watching these guys around you making moves recently?



I’ve experienced a big night when I fought Saunders – that was a big occasion for me so it has been a shame recently. Been hard with there not being a big occasion for me but come January 31st there will be one – which I’m looking forward to.

They are going about their business and I’m going about mine.



Eubank Jr got beat the weekend is he someone maybe not straight away but a fight you can see further down the line?



Yeah I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place as I’ve got the WBO ranking and the British title will come available.

What do I do – do I take a step back to fight for the British with the aim to win that outright which is four defences which could cost me 2 yrs and I’m 28/29 or do I keep taking steps forward in world rankings?

That is what I need to sit down with Tony and Eddie to talk about.

I feel that if Eddie makes the Heiland fight that decision is made.



Final thing John with Christmas coming up as a boxer with you eating well and the first one with your daughter, have you got much planned?



Nothing much planned, training every day really – hopefully I’ll get Christmas Day off.

To be fair she’s only a baby so she won’t know what it is this year. Next Christmas I hopefully will be off when she does.



John – best of luck with the training mate and no doubt we will catch up soon.



Nice one Paul, speak soon.







Tony Sims on Joshua, Ryder, Mitchell & Burns by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

Tony you’ve got a busy night on the 31st with (Anthony) Joshua, (John) Ryder, (Kevin) Mitchell and O’Hara Davies on the bill.

If we can discuss Mitchell firstly – I recently watched the Daniel Estrada v Omar Figueroa fight back and Estrada was competitive up until he was overpowered late.

What does Kevin need to do different in this fight compared to his last?


Tony Sims:

Kevin reads a fight really well – he’s got a great boxing brain on him.

As you say Estrada is a good fighter, he’s a Mexican fighter – they are all tough. He’s tall, throws long straight shots, when you come inside he throws the hooks and uppercuts up.

Kevin has got to be on his game – it could be a Final Eliminator for him but I don’t think Estrada is as good as Maduma. I really rated Maduma and Kevin overcome him – as long as Kevin is in shape for this fight and he’s on his game I know he can beat any Lightweight in the world.



I think the key thing for Kevin is to have a caveat in front of him to perform at his best.

When will you hear if it’s a Final Eliminator for him with the WBC Silver on the line?


The WBC convention is next week and we should know then. The WBC Silver is currently vacant as the Figueroa is champion in recess due to a cut sustained against Estrada not having healed yet. So what they are doing is an Interim title between Jorge Linares and Javier Prieto with Kevin and Estrada in an eliminator for the title.

If Kevin wins he will face the winner of Linares and Prieto.



If we can discuss John Ryder now – Eddie (Hearn) alluded to Jorge Sebastian Heiland as an opponent who is almost signed. 

Are you now at a stage where you want any fighter in the top 10 of the governing bodies?



We’ll take whatever Eddie can provide us with really. John is ranked number ten in the WBO now – so he is a top ten fighter in the world. He’s now done his apprenticeship, he’s done his learning now it’s about moving up to a world title for him.

He had that fight with Billy Joe Saunders who some people believe he won – other believe Ryder won. I personally think it was a draw. I’ve watched it again and again and scored it a draw.

If you look at that fight as a benchmark with Billy Joe who is now number one with the WBO and mandatory for the title once Andy Lee & Matt Korobov have fought for it.

There is nothing between Ryder & Billy Joe. I believe Ryder has come on since then – he’s developed more as a man, he’s punching harder and at the age of 26 he is probably entering the prime of his career.

These fights now Sebastian Heiland are the type of fights we need now to see where he actually is. Ryder has been out sparring Andy Lee for 2 weeks, he sparred Macklin before the Heiland fight, sparred loads with Darren Barker previously. He has had top sparring and in my eyes now he is ready to go – I want him to move through the ratings now.

Sebastian Heiland has got a good rating – he has just beaten Macklin and everyone knows him over here. I don’t believe that was Matthew Macklin in that fight, it was a shadow of him. You are talking about 2 yrs ago I think Macklin would have stopped Heiland as he was different class. Every fighter has his day and Matthew has had his.



Moving on to Anthony Joshua – from your perspective as his trainer & manager is he a nightmare to match?

I admire the job that has been done with him so far and he has been progressed sensibly.

If he beats Kevin Johnson comfortably will you be then looking at Price, Chisora etc?



It’s difficult to say that as Kevin Johnson has been the distance with Klitschko, Fury and Chisora – he is a clever fighter who survives the rounds. Even though he lost to those guys on wide points decisions I think the benchmark will be if he takes Johnson out.

Now if he boxes Johnson and wins every round like the others did we know he still has a lot to learn. That will be good for him as it’s 12 rounds in the bank.

If he knocks Johnson out then you are seeing a guy do something to a good fighter that no one else has – in only his 11th fight.

What I don’t want to is put him in to a fight experience-wise he isn’t ready for. At the end of the day I know he won Olympic Gold Medal but he only had 40 odd amateur and ten professional fights.

Everyone wants to see Anthony in with the best fight now but he’s not ready and he knows he’s not ready. But he will be ready – in another 12-18mths he will be ready to go in with anyone.



So you think after 18-20 fights he will be ready for anyone?



Exactly. I don’t think there will be anyone else to fight then. I think we would have gone through the best opponents we can get at that stage of his career.

With Chisora, Price & Fury they are all massive fights as we haven’t had that in this country before with so many top Heavyweights.



I did see Dillian Whyte in here earlier and he’s back from his ban. Is that something you could see further down the line?  


He’s got to rebuild his career as he’s just come back. He’s not in our sights currently and Anthony is further ahead currently.



Final question Tony – Ricky Burns, after his last fight being a victory and a much-needed confidence boost for him.

Is he going to stay at Light-Welter or move back down to Lightweight?



He’s going to drop back down to Lightweight. We got a dietician in and it’s the first time he has ever used one. He made the last fight at 10st 1lb he come in at 9st 13lbs.

If he eats correctly and at the right time with the right calories in him he makes Lightweight comfortably.

He made Lightweight before as he’s always done from a young age dropping weight late, when you get older your metabolism slows down and your diet needs to change as well.

You’ve got to realise he was Super-Feather before and you will see him making it easy with the dietician.

Eddie is in the process of making a big fight for him we will announce it when it’s confirmed. We are looking at early March for that.



Tony – thanks for your time and I’ll catch up with you soon.



Cheers Paul.





#MomentOfTruth Review by Paul Ready


Three fighters gained their 1st titles as Professionals at the O2 Arena on Saturday evening.

All three men box out of Simsy’s gym in Essex. It was testament to the hard work that brothers Tony and Peter Sims have done with these guys that paid dividends this weekend.

Middleweight contender John Ryder captured the WBO Inter-Continental title; Tyler Goodjohn won the English Light-Welter strap in what was the fight of the evening. Last but certainly not least was Anthony Joshua winning the WBC International belt by butchering Russian Denis Bakhtov.

Goodjohn and Ryder both made their pro-debuts on the same bill; Friday 10th September 2010 at York Hall to be exact. Former stable-mate Lee Purdy fought Ryder’s opponent from Saturday evening Theophilus Tetteh as the main event.

As expected the big fights delivered in an emphatic fashion – let’s look at these in more detail:


Lee Selby v Joel Brunker – IBF Featherweight Final Eliminator


I must admit I did think this would be a tough fight for Selby (20-1: 8 KO’s) – but he made Brunker  (27-1: 15 KO’s) look average.

The Welshman made a real statement by stopping the Australian, few would have expected that.  He displayed plenty of movement from the outset proving difficult for Brunker to get near; the Aussie was only going to ever win by KO.

Selby nullified his foe with ease and proceeded to give him a boxing lesson on the back-foot. The 27 yr old looked relaxed as he shuffled along to the music in-between rounds – he sensed Brunker couldn’t live with him.

As we headed towards the mid to late rounds Selby began to go through the gears as he looked for the stoppage.

In the 9th he caught Brunker with a body-shot that rocked him, he followed that up with a spiteful combo; Brunker was static on the ropes unable to return fire. The ref intervened and stopped the contest.

With American based champion Evgeny Gradovich due to face Jayson Velez in November on the Crawford v Beltran undercard, Selby will have to wait until Spring for his title shot.

The likelihood will be the fight being staged in America, The Mexican Russian is trained by Robert Garcia and Selby will need to show more of what he did on Saturday to prevail.

He is swimming with the big boys now – I’d fancy him to beat Gradovich but future fights with 2 time Olympian Vasyl Lomachenko, Nonito Donaire and Felix Verdejo will be much tougher.



Tyler Goodjohn v Ricky Boylan


This was the best fight of the evening, like most sat in my vicinity we were on our feet for the majority of the contest.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Tyler personally this year and I know how much this win means to him. It was a career best performance from him. Goodjohn’s boxing ability is vastly underrated and on Saturday you saw him prove he can do more than merely trade.

Credit to Ricky Boylan who was live throughout, but I felt that the game-plan devised by trainer Peter Sims was executed to perfection. El Tornado displayed fantastic offensive and defensive skills that Pretty Ricky struggled to cope with.

Goodjohn (11-3: 4 KO’s) proved it was second time lucky in his attempt to capture the English Light-Welter title. In a deep domestic pool of 140 fighters there are some huge fights for him on the horizon.

One name that has already cropped up newly crowned Commonwealth Champion Dave Ryan – who defeated Tyrone Nurse the week before. That would be ferocious fight.

For Boylan (12-1: 4 KO’s) he shouldn’t be too disheartened at his career-first defeat, he has plenty of time on his side to bounce back – he will learn a lot from this fight.


John Ryder v Theophilus Tetteh


After a horrendous 12 months for The Gorilla of injuries and setbacks, capped off with a late change of opponent due to politics – he can finally look forward to some huge fights in 2015.

Ryder (19-1: 11 KO’s) stopped Ghanian Tetteh in the 5th round capturing the WBO Inter-Continental belt in the process.

The 26 yr old’s intentions were clear; he wanted to take all of that frustration out on Tetteh. Ryder steamed in from the outset loading up on shots looking for a spectacular finish.

I thought Tetteh’s corner was going to pull him out in the 4th as he looked shattered. A sizzling right hook – uppercut cross was suffice for the referee to end the contest.

Having spoken to John post-fight I could sense the relief that he can put all of this behind him. Tony Sims and John will be firmly on promoter Eddie Hearn’s case to match-up him with some of the biggest names in the division. Ryder is now ranked with a governing body and I’d put him in with Brian Vera or Sergio Mora without hesitation.


Anthony Joshua v Denis Bakhtov

That was hands down Joshua’s most brutal performance so far; he scorched the Russian.

Bakhtov is no patsy, a durable guy who hasn’t been stopped in 9 years but the 24 yr old toyed with him away like a lion playing with its cub.

He could have stopped him in the first 20 seconds – but in Joshua’s own words he wanted to hurt him.

I was sat a few metres from the corner where Darth Vader was hemmed in, every thud of Joshua’s punches made you wince.

The ref initially hesitated with the stoppage in the 2nd to allow more punishment to continue, he then jumped in to halt the contest before some serious damage was done. It was the first time we have seen the vicious side of Joshua; expect more of that as we enter the next stage in his development.

The hardest challenge now is who to match him with. He beats every British Heavyweight bar David Haye for me. The November fight with Michael Sprott appears to be a pure dead rubber contest now – but who should he face?

I would stick him in with Eddie Chambers or Alexander Ustinov, I want to see someone try to have a real go at Joshua. But few if any can withstand that mutant power.

With David Price commentating for Sky on the show, talk naturally centered towards him against Joshua next year. Two huge punchers and Price being one of few men who would have a height advantage over the Watford man, it makes for an exciting 12 months ahead in the Heavyweight division.





#MomentOfTruth Preview by Paul Ready


Next stop for Matchroom is the O2 Arena in London this Saturday. In a packed bill that contains some of the brightest talents on these shores & some fights that will mould many of their careers.

It’s going to be a busy night for trainers Peter and Tony Sims with five fighters between them competing on the card.

Let’s assess the bouts in detail:


“Pretty” Ricky Boylan v Tyler “El Tornado” Goodjohn

This for me could be fight of the night. El Tornado (10-3: 4 KO’s) will be hoping it is 2nd time lucky in his quest for the English Light Welter title.

The 23 yr old lost to Tyrone Nurse in a cracking fight earlier this year, but one thing is guaranteed with Goodjohn; he comes to fight. Goodjohn reminds me of Brandon Rios in the way he grins at the sight of his own blood & thrives being in a genuine tear-up.

Undefeated Pretty Ricky (12-0: 4 KO’s) agreed to fight with Goodjohn after an amusing exchange between them too place on Twitter.

The 26 yr old has not faced so far what you would consider stern test and this Saturday will be his first one. Boylan is regarded as one top talents in Britain at 140lbs and I’m looking forward to seeing how he will cope with the pressure Goodjohn will apply.

Both have had world-class sparring in the lead up to this fight and with two noisy fan base’s supporting them; I’m confident the fight will live up to expectations.




John “The Gorilla” Ryder v Theopus Tetteh

Firstly I’m disappointed for Ryder (18-1: 10 KO’s) that due to circumstances beyond his control he isn’t facing Sergey Khomistky on Saturday.

The 26 yr old only found out recently that Khomistky was under contract with a rival promoter who has exercised his right to activate a 1 fight option.It is like knowing you are out for dinner tonight, you have been looking forward to having a steak for weeks & get to the restaurant to only find out they’ve got none left.

It is frustrating of course for The Gorilla but I admire his attitude; he has shrugged this off and is fully focused on blasting the Ghanaian away.

What do we know about Tetteh?

He is 16-6 with 9 KO’s; he lost to Lee Purdy in 2010 on the same bill Ryder made his professional debut. With the WBO Inter-Continental belt up for grabs; there is plenty here to motivate the Islington man.

I’m confident Ryder will put on a great performance and use this as a springboard for some big fights in 2015.





Lee Selby v Joel Brunker – IBF Featherweight Final Eliminator


Make no mistake about it; this is the acid test for the Welshman. Selby (19-1: 7 KO’s) for me has always flattered to deceive; I’ve seen glimpses of his ability that make me believe he can mix it at World Level. On other occasions however he has boxed ok and I often I question whether he would look out of his depth with Vasyl Lomachenko, Jhonny Gonzalez or Nonito Donaire.

Aussie Brunker (27-0: 15 KO’s) is here to grasp that mandatory position for himself and prove Selby is a hype job. Brunker is rated #3 in the IBF, Selby is #6 and for me it is another 50-50 fight.

How hard does Brunker punch? Can Selby out-box him?

It makes for a mouth-watering contest and the winner will face champion Evgeny Gradovich in spring.


Anthony Joshua v Denis Bakhtov – WBC International Heavyweight title


It will be exactly a year on Saturday since Joshua (8-0: 8 KO’s) made his professional debut. It has been an exciting journey already with the 24 yr old frighteningly still in 1st gear.

We constantly hear the term “stepping up” regarding opposition for the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist; but he is progressing faster than anyone envisaged.

Next up to attempt to give the man-mountain some rounds is Bakhtov (38-9: 25 KO’s).

Darth Vader (yes that is his alias) has been in with Konstantin Airich – who Joshua knocked out in 3, Manuel Charr and further back Danny Williams.

I expect nothing less than a KO which will serve as an early birthday present for Joshua – he turns 25 next week.

Joshua participated in an open-workout Monday in his hometown of Watford and spoke to Skysports about facing the likes of David Price, Dereck Chisora and David Haye:


“I work hard. You have to be confident in your ability. I believe I can compete with these guys at a high level, probably get a win, but is it about competing with these guys in a tough fight, 12 rounds, coming out battered and bruised – or you bide your time?

“When the time is right, these fights will happen. Right now October 11 is my priority and in the future, on a piece of paper, these names are on a tick list down the line and hopefully we can do it at Vicarage Road or Wembley. Somewhere special.”


Young prospect Ben Hall (4-0) faces Simon Henry (3-0) on the undercard. Fantastic moment for Hall and his family seeing him fight for the first time on a big card. From what I’ve seen and heard; it won’t be his last.

Light-Welters Tommy Martin and John Wayne Hibbert will both have eyes on the Boylan v Goodjohn fight after they dispatch opposition of their own.

O’Hara Davies, Phillip Bowes and Erick Ochieng are all in action to complete the exciting bill.





@EddieHearn on Ryder, Boylan v Goodjohn, Bellew Cleverly 2, Brook v Khan, Mitchell


Elite Boxing:

Eddie, another great card has been announced by yourselves. I think fight-wise this one does shade the Hull card.

In the press conference you alluded to Tony Sims and John Ryder looking at a number of top fighters in the Middleweight division, could you mention who else was looked at?


Eddie Hearn:

He (Tony ) was mentioning everyone in the Middleweight division basically.

You know, he was saying; “John is ready to step-up now”. He was calling out people, going down the rankings saying; “He’ll fight him, he’ll fight him.”

In the end I thought of the Khomistky fight and thought you know what, he’s got the profile as he sparked (Frank) Buglioni out and the response to that fight has been really good. Most people have gone “fucking hell!” you know. But it’s a great fight and there is no reason why Ryder can’t win the fight, but it’s definitely a 50/50 fight.

Khomistsky lost recently to Stieglitz in a really close fight. You look at (Robert) Stieglitz and Ryder, Stieglitz is a former world champion and Ryder lost for the British. Styles make fights and Ryder v Khomistky is a great fight.



Another fight on the card is (Ricky) Boylan v (Tyler) Goodjohn it has been amusing for us all to watch unfold on Twitter.



To be honest with you and no disrespect to those guys, but at English level they do make for great fights. The atmosphere will be great. Boylan will do 500 tickets, Goodjohn will do 300-400 it’s fantastic.

That division (Light-Welter) is really good domestically; you’ve got John Wayne Hibbert here, Tyrone Nurse, Willie Limond, Chris Jenkins, Tommy Martin; it’s a really good division especially in London.



I agree. On a different note, did you see the recent pictures of Amir Khan looking overweight on holiday?



I couldn’t believe it. I think I’m in better shape than him at the moment!

Obviously he’s enjoying some down time, but I understand he’s fighting on December 6th, he’ll probably start his camp soon. If he wins, then Kell (Brook) wins also on December 6th they can both fight each other soon.



How are talks for that fight progressing?



It’s early stages. I think everyone realises that there is a lot of money to be made, they both would like the fight to happen.

So really over the next couple of weeks a priority is to secure the December 6th opponent for Kell then trying to make that fight asap.



Would you side-step the Khan fight for Brook in the unlikely event that an opportunity to face Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather presents itself?



In a way I think so, but financially there is more money in fighting Khan for both people than for the Mayweather fight.

It is definitely an easier fight than facing Mayweather. I think Khan will need to look at Brook and he probably thinks that is an easier fight than Pacquiao or Mayweather. But Khan has always wanted the Mayweather fight.

When Brook beats Khan, he can go on and fight those two; if Khan was to lose to Brook, where does he go from there?



Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly, I’ve seen a few tweets in recent days regarding whether that is still going ahead in December, could you clear that subject up?



We are looking at having that on the Brook 6th December card. We looked at November 29th in Liverpool but it’s a big fight, should Cleverly have to go back to Liverpool again (to face Bellew)?

Nathan likes the idea of a neutral venue and in Sheffield we have the opportunity to do it.

I’m seeing Tony on Tuesday so hopefully that can be all agreed.



Kevin Mitchell, I know the (Miguel) Vasquez has moved further away since he has signed with Al Haymon, do you have any update on him?



He’s supposed to be the mandatory challenger (IBF Lightweight) but now he’s not. He was due to be on the O2 card, he has a few niggles injury-wise but he will now box before the end of the year. 

It’s frustrating as that would have been the big one for him. But now we’ve got to try find another way.



Finally Eddie on to Lee Selby v Joel Brunker, another great fight. If he wins, with regards to facing IBF champion (Evgeny) Gradovich, when would you look to make that?



He had a mandatory. He’ll have a voluntary around the same time as Selby and we will look for that fight to take place in February.






@_John_Ryder_ Interview.. #MomentOfTruth by Paul Ready


They say things come in three’s.

After a nightmare 12 months of injury and a career first defeat for John “The Gorilla” Ryder; redemption is on the horizon.

Last weekend he became a father to a beautiful yet unnamed daughter and his career defining fight against Sergey “The Ghost” Khomistky was announced.

To complete the hat-trick would be an explosive performance against the Belarusian war-horse putting him firmly on the map. Listening to the belief and conviction in his voice; only a fool would bet against him.



Elite Boxing:

John, big card, big fight for yourself. I was looking at Khomistky’s record earlier; he’s been in with (Gennady) Golovkin, (Martin) Murray twice, lost a few months ago to (Robert) Stieglitz. We often hear the term career-defining fight but what does this one in particular mean to you?


John Ryder:

Yeah, firstly Gennady Golovkin is an ideal of mine, watching it and seeing Golovkin beat him was great. I’d like to put on a similar performance. I’m not going to let that overrule my head.

I’m just going to go in there with a good mindset and box, if I have to outbox him all night then I’ll do it. I’m in there to win this fight, I’m not in there to take shots to give shots. I’m in there to look good and do a good job.



You and I have spoken recently about him coming down from 168lbs to 160lbs for this fight. Do you think that plays in to your hands as you are natural at that weight, or do you not think it’s going to make a massive difference?


Who knows, I don’t know what kind of notice he’s had for Super-Middleweight fights before.

He’s 39 now you don’t know, as he’s getting on a bit he might struggle at the weight, we’ll soon see as I’ll test him early on! See how he copes, I’ll be able to tell by looking at him if he’s struggled or not, we’ll play it by ear.



Have you see many of his fights, he lost to Stieglitz most recently?



I’ve seen short clips of it. He throws shots and can be dangerous, I need to look out for his big left hook, his right hand.

I’m just looking forward to it. It is a career-defining fight and what a night it’s going to be. I’ve known Anthony Joshua for years now from the amateur days and to be co-featuring with him and (Lee) Selby at the O2 in my home-town is amazing.

It’s been a great week for me so far, my little girl has been born, the title fight got announced and I’m over-the-moon I’m riding a wave of success. I’m buzzing, I’ve got a new found motivation with my little girl so I’m going to win this for her and create a better life for her in the future.



In terms of rankings with this fight, it’s for the WBA International title. Golovkin is the Super Champion, the Regular is Danny Jacobs. A win will move you closer to the top 10.



I’m not 100% sure how that bit would work actually. If Jacobs’ was making a voluntary he could pick me out straight away. The plan is to get in the top 15, pick a couple of fights, then progress and continue to progress, see where it takes us.




It might seem far-fetched now, you spoke about Golovkin being an idol of yours, what would it mean to one day share the ring with him?



It would be amazing. I’m not at a stage of my career where I’m taking fights for a big pay-day.

Listen, in the future on my right-day and my right mindset I truly believe I can beat Golovkin. People might laugh and say that’s deluded, but that’s a fighter’s mentality.

He’s getting on a bit but he’s youthful and hasn’t been in a hard fight yet. I’m a fighter and believe I can beat anyone.



I remember us both being at York Hall last month and I could sense you had “itchy hands” watching. I get the impression that you aren’t a good spectator of boxing and just want to be in there yourself.



Especially having had such a long time out of the ring, I’ve always been a terrible spectator watching. I just want to be in there.



John, finally before you shoot off for sparring, Eddie (Hearn) mentioned in the press conference that Tony (Sims) had thrown a few names at him of who you wanted to fight, are you happy to mention them now?



They were said a bit “tongue-in-cheek” to let Eddie know we were serious at moving up to this level.

I said to Tony: “Alfred Angulo has moved up to Middleweight Tone, why don’t you get Eddie to call him out?!”

We threw out Brian Vera who’d just been beat. We looked at and wanted a top 10 world opponent.



John thanks for your time and we’ll speak soon no doubt.



Cheers mate, see you soon.






#FrochGroves2 Undercard by Paul Ready


So here we are, fight week.

Unless you have been residing under a rock or in the International Space Station orbiting our planet, you would have found it nigh on impossible to avoid the frenzy this weekend.

scene composition: litho, frame 22

Whilst most will tune in to view the main event, we shouldn’t overlook the fights on the under card which contains some of Britain’s biggest and brightest talents.


Anthony Joshua v Matt Legg


First up is Joshua (5-0: 5KO’s) who faces Matt Legg (7-2: 3KO’s) in a 6 round Heavyweight contest.

Whilst some criticism has been levied at Matchroom for not finding a more attractive opponent for the Olympic Gold Medallist, it is becoming increasingly more challenging to locate willing suitors to face him.

Michael Sprott so I’m told was a strong contender to face Joshua but with him due to face Martin Rogan in New Zealand next week it was a non starter.


More important than the opponent is the chance to box on the biggest spectacle in British boxing history, something Joshua cites as bigger than the Olympics.

“I’m starting the show but hopefully one day I’ll be headlining. I hope to start the night off with a bang. I’ve got a domestic fighter who’s coming to give it a go. He’ll be trying to catch me so may the best man win.”

With the opportunity for him to not only box in-front of 80,000 the exposure he will receive being shown on HBO Boxing Stateside will do wonders for his growing his profile.


Jamie McDonnell v Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat


Former IBF Bantamweight World Champion McDonnell (23-2: 10KO’s) faces Na Rachawat (52-2: 34KO’s) from Thailand for the vacant WBA Regular title.

Na Rachawat has boxed his whole career in Thailand and I’ve heard he is an aggressive, come-forward pressure fighter.

My concern with him as an unknown quantity is the level of opponents he has faced.

Let’s hope he is more a Daniel Brizuela (who gave Tommy Coyle a life & death fight) than a Mikheil Avakyani (who boxed like Mr Bean and Kevin Mitchell could have dealt with in his sleep)

“You can expect the best of me. I want to put in the best performance I have ever done, especially in front of all these people,” he told the Ringside Toe 2 Toe podcast.

“When I win a world title back, it’s a stepping stone. I want to unify this division before I move up, so it all happens on the 31st at Wembley.”

Kevin Mitchell v Ghislain Maduma

Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell (37-2: 27KO’s) faces Maduma (16-0:10KO’s) in an IBF final eliminator on Saturday night.

29yr old Mitchell will be have a huge fan-base present on Saturday evening as he bids to make it 3rd time lucky on the World title trail.

Having lost to Australian Michael Katsidis and now stable-mate Ricky Burns, some would argue that this is Mitchell’s last chance to realise a boy-hood dream of becoming world champion.

Having spoken to people around The Hammer, he is more focused and determined than ever before. The penny has well and truly dropped for him, he knows this is his time, the chance to showcase to the world what he is capable of.

Mentally & physically he is in the shape of his life, you only had to see the zip and snap in his punches yesterday at the open work-out.

Mitchell is living the life of an elite athlete now, taking his nutrition and boxing much more seriously.

Inheriting the “senior” fighter status in the gym since rejoining Tony Sims last summer, he has the bit between his teeth and I’m looking forward to seeing a sparkling performance from him in his home-town Saturday night.

Mitchell told Sky Sports News:

“It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s a world title eliminator and after this I’ve got Vazquez in my sight. What a platform to do it on – it’s the biggest show in history

“I’ve put my whole year into this training. I’ve made my comeback properly, training solidly for a year and having regular fights for Eddie Hearn with Tony Sims, who’s been working wonders with me in the gym.

“I’ve been sparring the likes of Martin Ward, Ricky Burns. It’s been going brilliantly. All the boys like Anthony Joshua are alongside me in the gym. I’m flying for this fight.

“Everyone’s buzzing. We’re happy. You’ve got to work hard in this game and working alongside other athletes like that shows you how hard you have to train. We’re all working harder to get faster times and it’s great.

“I’ve seen quite a few fights of Maduma’s and he likes doing things his own way. He’s got fast hands and I imagine he’ll be very fit for this fight but if it has to be a war, that’s how it will be.

“I’ve been in a few wars. I’ve been beaten in two but I wasn’t prepared for them. Trust me, when I’m prepared the way I’m prepared now, I’m ready for whoever it has to be.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime crowd. I don’t think we’ll ever see it again. I said to Anthony Joshua a couple of months back that the only person who could get this kind of crowd again would be him in a few years’ time for titles at world level.”

Supporting the main-event and with one eye on the victor is James DeGale, another local lad who like Mitchell is a whisker away from a World title shot.

James DeGale v Brandon Gonzales

DeGale (18-1: 12KO’s) faces the toughest test in his career against undefeated American Gonzales (18-0: 10KO’s)

Gonzales trained by Virgil Hunter regularly spars with Andre Ward and isn’t travelling to London to sit on an open-top-bus with his bum bag taking pictures of Buckingham Palace.

They are coming to win and DeGale needs to deliver…. massively.

Having boxed in small arena’s in Lakeside predominantly, “Chunky” feels he is returning to stage where he belongs.

He would admit himself that since the narrow defeat to Groves, his profile reduced dramatically and the move to Matchroom has been long-overdue.

Initially focused on the WBC path and a showdown with Sakio Bika, he has now wisely pursued the IBF route as a fight against Froch or Groves rematch would fill Phones4U Arena in Manchester or the O2 with ease.

“Flawless” hasn’t knocked an opponent out since 2010 and I fully expect him to take the fight to DeGale for the full 12 rounds.

I fancy DeGale to outbox Gonzales down the stretch and take a split decision.

“He surrounds himself with good talented people like Amir Khan and Andre Ward, is trained by a good trainer in Virgil Hunter so I’m up against it but training camp has gone great.

“I’m injury free, mentally on point and as Eddie Hearn says, I’ve got my mojo back. I’m feeling nice and I’m ready to do it.

“I needed the right person to push me there and shouts to Eddie and Matchroom Sports with Team Chunky. We’re doing it big and I just can’t wait for Saturday night. It’s going to be a hell of a show so whoever’s got tickets, fasten your seatbelts.


**Tune in Friday for my breakdown of the main event…. Do not miss it!**




Boxing Update 12/03 By Paul Ready


Froch Groves 2

Unless you’ve been marooned on an Island in the middle of the no-where, it has been virtually impossible to escape the media coverage of the rematch.

I almost grew a beard for the first time in my life queuing online to get my tickets. I can say that I eventually succeeded in obtaining some.

The early part of this week has been dominated by the general sale of the tickets and the 1st press conference. It is the first time both fighters have seen each other since that unforgettable night in November.

60,000 went on sale at noon Monday; they had sold-out by 1 pm. This illustrates the sheer magnitude of this fight to the public.

Firstly, I want to give a special mention to Kugan Cassius and James Helder of IFLTV; their coverage on Monday was nothing short of sensational. If you aren’t familiar with their work, search from them on YouTube as their footage is unparalleled in boxing.

The mind-games and theatrics commenced immediately in the press conference; Groves was baited by Froch’s older brother Lee whenever he spoke, when Froch spoke, Groves was busy completing a rubics cube to draw attention to himself.

We had “Shove-Gate” on the pitch which there was a perception it was perhaps staged; which I don’t believe. You only had to see the reaction of the 25 yr old telling Eddie Hearn and Rob McCracken to “Sort their boy out” to know it was genuine.

The Cobra couldn’t look St George in the eye for the head-to-heads which I felt displayed a sign of weakness on his part, regardless of the clear hatred between them Froch should have faced him.

I can see Lee Froch attempting to be the “Angel Garcia” in the Froch camp. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Angel, he is father to Danny Garcia the WBC, WBA (Super) and Ring Magazine Light-Welter world champion.

What Angel does remarkably well is antagonise and goad Danny’s opponent in the build-up to fights, thus relieving pressure from Danny.

In recent fights against Zab Judah and Amir Khan, Angel was able to get under their skin and provoke a reaction. Danny beat both by his boxing ability, but you can’t underestimate the impact Angel made unsettling them.

What Groves must do is ensure he doesn’t get wound up by Lee Froch who has subjected him to abuse on Twitter in the after-math of the first fight. I admire him for walking straight over to the elder Froch at the end of the press conference and addressing him with an “Alright sweetheart” comment. He tackled the situation head-on, which demonstrates Groves won’t take any nonsense from Team Froch.

Toe to Toe, MGM Grand Las Vegas

Leo Santa Cruz v  Cristian Mijares

WBC Super-Bantamweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz didn’t drop a round on Saturday evening as he retained his strap against Cristian Mijares.

Santa Cruz won via a near shut-out on points with the judges scoring it 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109.

The 25 yr old Mexican has eyes on fighting Carl Frampton next, should the Ulsterman come through Hugo Cazares next month in a WBC mandatory contest.

“I want [Frampton] next,” Santa Cruz said. “This is a dream come true.”

This has the potential to be fight of the year and would present Frampton an opportunity to announce himself on the world-stage in autumn this year.

Canelo Alvarez v Alfred Angulo

Canelo made his return to the ring after his maiden loss against Pound-for-Pound number 1 Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

The 23 yr old sensation landed a whopping 295 of the 513 punches he threw, an astounding 58 percent.  The majority of them being right-handed bombs, Angulo was stopped with a huge uppercut in the 10th.

The Showtime commentators summed the upper-cut by stating that Canelo could have held a press conference to announce he was going to throw that punch as he had that much time.

Whilst the stoppage may have been a tad premature, it was only delaying the envitable and trainer Virgil Hunter would have no doubt pulled him out if the punishment continued.

Mersey Beat, Echo Arena: Liverpool

This weekend we have an exciting card which contains some big names from the Matchroom stable.

It contains the cream of Merseyside boxing, unfortunately excluding Callum and Stephen Smith who are both absent due to injury.

In addition, we have Kevin Mitchell and Kell Brook competing in tune-up fights before they have title tilts in the summer.

Talks have allegedly begun between Matchroom and advisors of Miguel Vazquez with a view to him fighting Mitchell on the Froch Groves under card for the Lightweight IBF World Title.

Vazquez is entering his 4th year straight as world champion, winning it against Ji-Hoon Kim of Japan in 2010 and is the perfect test for Mitchell.

El Títere (The Puppet) has lost 3 times in his career, twice to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2006 & 2008 and to Timothy Bradley in 2007.

I’ve been really impressed with Mitchell since he rejoined Simsy Gym and in front of a packed stadium in his home-town, I would back him to do the business.

Tony Bellew makes his debut at Cruiserweight since he decided to move up a weight class from the Light-Heavy division.

The Bomber lost to Adonis Stevenson in Canada at the tail end of 2013 in a WBC world title bout.

The 31year old feels he will be more comfortable at the weight and will be able to exert more power.

In an exciting division domestically containing former foe Nathan Cleverly, Ben Ileymi and Wadi Camacho, would all provide stern opposition as Bellew works towards a title shot in the future.

Kell Brook has been playing the waiting game before compulsory negotiations begin with Shawn Porter for his long-overdue IBF Welterweight fight.

I’m led to believe that negotiations should commence early April between both camps and the fight is likely to be staged in the USA sometime in June.

In the interim, Special K has to overcome Alvaro Robles on Saturday evening.  Tyson Robles as he is known is an unknown entity in some respects; sporting a 78% KO record (17-2: 15 KO’s) on his CV he is a man Brook cannot afford to over-look.

The full card for Saturday is listed below:

Tony Bellew v Valery Brudov
Vacant WBO Inter-Continental Cruiserweight Championship

Rocky Fielding v Charles Adamu
Commonwealth Super Middleweight

Paul Smith v Tobias Webb
Vacant WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Championship

Kell Brook v Alvaro Robles

Kevin Mitchell v Mikheil Avakyan

Neil Perkins v Erick Ochieng

Robbie Davies Jnr v Mark McKray

Ryan Moorhead v Ibrar Riyaz



In Puerto Rico this Saturday, Danny Garcia makes his return to ring against Mauricio Herrera. The American of Puerto Rican descent was again over-looked as an opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jnr recently.

Garcia fought last on the under-card of “The One” in September, beating a heavily backed Lucas Matthysse unanimously on points.