John Ryder struck a big opportunity on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena in London, when he became the mandatory challenger to WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith after knocking out undefeated Andrey Sirotkin. (photos by Jamie McPhilimey).
Ryder, who was dealing with a bad cut, came from behind to break down the body of Sirotkin, by dropping him for the full count in the seventh round of action.
In the early rounds, Ryder had trouble with the Russian fighter's very tricky style. He wasn't strong enough to hold off Ryder's incoming charge of hard punches.
The fight with Smith, who shares the same promoter as Ryder, is being targeted for some point in 2019.
The WBA's "regular" title at 168-pounds is held by Rocky Fielding, who is defending that belt on December 15 when he faces Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, who moves up from the middleweight ranks.