John Ryder continues to bide his time while awaiting his next big opportunity.
The super middleweight contender tested the light heavyweight waters for his latest adventure, which came in a fifth-round stoppage of Slovakia’s Josef Jurko. Friday evening at Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria. No knockdowns were scored in the one-sided fight that saw Jurko stopped on his feet at 1:25 of round five.
Ryder has straddled the fence between super middleweight and light heavyweight in search of a title shot at either wait. Friday’s affair provided the 33-year-old British southpaw with the opportunity to test drive light heavyweight against a naturally bigger Jurko who has competed at cruiserweight and was 201 pounds for his most recent bout just 13 days ago.
The early rounds saw Ryder slowly break down Jurko, coming forward but not wasting any punches. A left uppercut in round three snapped back the head of Jurko, with Ryder dialing up the aggression from there. A series of uppercuts and left hands left Jurko with a bloody nose as Ryder was slowly beating the fight out of him.
Ryder closed the show in round five, his uppercut once again the key as Jurko (8-3, 6KOs) was clearly done. The fight ended with Jurko on his feet and with Ryder earning his first stoppage since May 2019 as he improves to 30-5 (17KOs).
Next up for Ryder depends on which weight he chooses to campaign and what opportunities he and his team are willing to accept. The former title challenger was linked to potential fights with WBA “World” super middleweight titlist David Morrell and WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol, though with nothing to come of talks with either unbeaten boxer.
Opening the five-fight DAZN telecast, John Hedges (3-0, 0KOs) scored a six-round shutout of Croatia’s Frane Radnic (11-26, 10KOs). Scores were 60-54 on all three scorecards in favor of the 19-year-old Hedges, who went the four-round distance in each of his first two pro bouts.
Headlining the show, Croatia’s 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist and current heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic (12-0, 10KOs) faces Montenegro’s Marko Radonjic (22-0, 22KOs) in a scheduled ten-round heavyweight bout.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox