John Ryder has never been in a more prominent position in his career.

The assurance of a big fight was secured for the veteran gatekeeper following an injury stoppage of Zach Parker at the start of the fifth round last month at The O2 in London. The win came with the interim WBO super middleweight title stake.

More importantly, Ryder was designated as the WBO mandatory challenger to undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (58-2-2, 39KOs).

“I’m standing pretty now,” Ryder stated after the win. “It would be a dream to fight Canelo on Cinco de Mayo… whenever or wherever. It’s a great win for me.”

The win came in come-from-behind and anticlimactic fashion. Ryder (32-5, 18KOs), a 35-year-old southpaw from the Islington section of London, trailed on two of the three scorecards (39-37, 39-37, 38-38) after four rounds, but enjoyed a strong fourth round and sensed that momentum was strongly shifting in his favor. Derbyshire’s Parker (22-1, 16KOs) alerted Ryder and referee Howard Foster of a damaged right hand which left him unable to continue.

“I thought the tide was starting to turn and I was getting more on top,” noted Ryder. “These things happen in boxing. It was a bad injury for him but it feels like a robbery of a victory for me. It’s just one of those things.”

Nevertheless, Ryder is now riding a four-fight win streak since a disputed twelve-round loss to then-unbeaten WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith in their November 2019 meeting in Smith’s Liverpool hometown.

Back-to-back notable wins over former IBF middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs and the previously unbeaten Parker have positioned Ryder for a potential blockbuster showdown with Alvarez in 2023. Saturday’s interim title fight came with the understanding that Alvarez would have 180 days to fight the winner.

“This is where I want to be,” said Ryder. “Whether to fight Canelo or for any of the four belts, so be it.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox