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Talking Boxing

Interviews, opinions, features and news from the greatest sport in the world!

February 4, 2017

Meeting at the crossroads

Adam Etches, John Ryder

Etches will hope to be all smiles tonight after his "crossroads" fight against John Ryder in London.

by Shaun Brown

Adam Etches says a win over John Ryder tonight in London would go a long way to avenging his only professional loss to date.

In March 2015, Etches (20-1, 17 KOs) took a significant step up in middleweight class when he faced off against Brit slayer Sergey Khomitsky in front of his home support in Sheffield.

Khomitsky who had already beaten Frank Buglioni, Jamie Moore and picked up a draw against Nick Blackwell dispatched of Etches inside four rounds, despite his British foe controlling stages early on.

"He caught me with a good shot, I went down like a sack of s**t," an honest Etches told Talking Boxing earlier this week.

Despite being caught with a "good shot" Etches, 26, says there was plenty to be learned from the defeat.

"Don't be complacent. Don't get lazy, and think (about) what's coming back.

"That's life. I've moved on from it. If John's looking at it thinkng I'm vulnerable from that one fight I think it's a bit of a mistake. We'll see. I'm expecting the best John Ryder on Saturday night because it's a bit of a crossroads fight for both of us."  

Almost a year later and Khomitsky was at it again, this time making the trip to London to derail John Ryder's career after the Islington southpaw (23-3, 12 KOs) had suffered his second pro loss eight months prior against Nick Blackwell.

In what was a make or break fight for Ryder's career, the 28-year-old controlled proceedings, and used his head rather than his heart to secure a convincing points victory. While Etches would take a rematch with Khomitsky at the drop of a hat, a win over Ryder would, in his eyes, almost wipe away that painful defeat.

"I think in my own mind this will all avenge it anyway," said Etches who has only had two wins over the eight round distance since his loss to Khomitsky.

"Ryder already beat him comfortably. Even if I fight Khomitsky again, all it's going to do by beating him is boost my ego. It's not really going to get me any ranking. It's a fight I would take, don't get me wrong. I'd like to avenge it for my own good. If it happens, it happens. If not, it doesn't matter. Main thing is Saturday night."

Etches, managed by Richard Poxon who helped brings tonight's card to ITV Box Office, describes tonight's fight, a debut for them both at super middleweight (with the IBF International 168lbs title on the line), as something of a crossroads bout. The winner could go on to a significant fight later this year, while the loser will be left trying to scratch and climb his way back up the rankings once again.

"I'm not even thinking of that or considering it, because I've only got one thing on my mind and that's to win," said Etches. 

"But obviously we both know what a defeat does, it knocks you back massively but especially when you've got two guys who have both had their defeats. Like I said, it's a bit of a crossroads fight. I'm not saying it'd be impossible for the loser, but it'd be very hard to get back up there for either one of us. But I'm not considering defeat."

Having both campaigned inside similar upper echelons of the British middleweight division for a period of time, it was maybe natural that Etches should follow Ryder's career as a potential opponent somewhere down the line. Ryder has long been tipped for big things but defeat to Billy Joe Saunders, and surprise losses to Nick Blackwell and most recently to Jack Arnfield have placed Ryder's career in a perilous state. Etches isn't paying much attention to those defeats, particularly the contentious one to Arnfield last September.

"To be honest with you I don't think he lost the Arnfield fight, and I think when he were boxing Blackwell he were winning comfortably until he got caught. And I think same thing with Billy Joe Saunders fight. On a neutral ground, neutral terms you wouldn't have complained if Ryder would've got it. In them terms he's unbeaten apart from the time Blackwell clocked him, which were similar to what happened to me against Khomitsky. 

"He's a good fighter, a good boxer, a good lad but Saturday night I'm expecting a good solid fight. I think it'll be more a war than a boxing match."