By Terence Dooley
Ryan Rhodes put the disappointment of last June’s 2011 light-middleweight world title loss to Mexico’s Saul Alvarez to one side when beating Siarhei Khomitski on points over eight-threes in November. Rhodes’s win over Khomitski has led to a tilt at the vacant EBU 154lb title against Sergey Rabchenko at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Arena on March 24th.
Rhodes vacated the belt in order to challenge for Alvarez’s world crown. The 35-year-old travelled to Mexico for that one. Although outgunned against ‘Canelo’, Ryan believes that his world title hopes could be reignited if he fires against Rabchenko, 19-0 (14).
“One step at a time,” said Rhodes when talking to BoxingScene.com about his world title ambitions. “I’m looking at this European title first because it is a belt I never lost in the ring. I’m very confident of winning it, but I’m not looking ahead of it. My career has been on a fantastic high so I’ve not even discussed retirement with my family. Who knows what the future holds?”
Rabchenko holds a 19-0 (14) slate. The Belarusian is no stranger to these shores, handing Martin Concepcion, Bradley Pryce and Kevin McCauley defeats in his last three visits. Rhodes, though, believes that his vast experience will prove too much for the younger man.
“He has not boxed anyone like me,” declared Rhodes, 46-5 (31). “I’ve seen him box a couple of kids and looked at his record. He did Martin Conception in three rounds, Bradley Pryce on points [over twelve], but to be fair I thought Bradley had him out on his feet in a few rounds. My power and switch hitting will be a big factor in this fight.”
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