After four competitive rounds, an injury resulted in a horribly disappointing conclusion to the WBO Super Middleweight contest between Zach Parker and John Ryder.
With the scorecards even, Parker (22-1, 16 KOs) could not come out for the fifth round due to what appears to be a broken right hand. Parker walked over to Ryder's corner as the confused audience began to realize the highly anticipated bout was prematurely cut short. Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) now becomes the WBO Super Middleweight mandatory challenger for champion Canelo Alvarez.
Ryder called it a great win. “It was important to win on this fight and build momentum for a good 2023. We've done it now. Tick the box.”
“I'm gutted,” said the disappointed Parker. He believes the injury happened on an uppercut at the start of the fourth round. “I was warming into the fight. It was coming out to be a good fight. But obviously, the injury, every time I jabbed him, it was hurting,” said Parker, who vowed to recover and come back stronger.
Competitive High Stakes Contest Cut Short
Parker kicked off the bout switching from orthodox to southpaw, firing off snapping jabs at Ryder. Ryder responded with right hooks. He got a slower start but began to warm up nicely and push back Parker, tagging his fleet-footed opponent.
Both men battled to control the ring real estate. Parker preferred to fight at the margins, while Ryder wanted to remain in the center of the ring, counting on his experience and solid lower body foundation to stalk Parker. Just as the action was heating up, it all came to a crashing halt.
“He was moving well. He was peppering me a bit there, but I felt like the tide was starting to turn, and I was getting more on top,” said Ryder. “These things happen in boxing. It was a bad injury for him but a good victory for me.”
Following his upset split decision victory over former world champion Daniel Jacobs in February, Ryder goes into the possible title fight next May with unexpected momentum.
“I want the big guns now. I want the Canelo fight. I want to end the career with the icing on the cake,” declared Ryder. “I'm standing pretty now, it would be a dream to fight Canelo on Cinco de Mayo or whenever, wherever. It's a great win for me tonight. We're making progress in this game, finally.” After being on the short end of several scorecards during his career, Ryder may have scored the victory through a side door, but he deserves the title opportunity.
After five straight knockout wins, the rising star Parker had waited a year for the fight with Ryder after Demetrius Andrade turned away from a May date and declined the fight after a purse bid in September. Whether the ring rust contributed to Parker's injury is hard to say.
Undercard Results: Body Shots Rule the Ring
If you're a fan of the body shot knockout like we are, several undercard bouts offered tasty side dishes to the main event.
Hamzah Sheeraz (17-0, 13 KOs) put a buzzsaw to River Wilson-Bent (13-2-1, 6 KOs) in two blistering rounds to successfully defend his WBC Silver and Commonwealth Middleweight titles. After a flurry of shots scored a knockdown, the referee stepped in when he didn't like Wilson-Bent's condition. Sheeraz said he'd like a shot at Chris Eubank Jr. The middleweight division sorely needs an infusion of young talent. Here's hoping Sheeraz continues to develop his skills.
In a lively scrap, Dennis McCann of Kent (14-0, 8 KOs) had little trouble with Joe Ham of Scotland (17-4, 6 KOs), scoring an eighth-round TKO win to take home the vacant Commonwealth Junior Featherweight title for his effort. McCann landed an impressive right hook body shot followed by a right uppercut in combination, and Ham never recovered. He suffered three knockdowns before referee Marcus McDonnel finally called it a night. McCann said after the bout he was surprised by the success of his right hook in the bout.
It was England vs. Scotland in a battle of unbeaten lightweights, and they didn't disappoint. Sam Noakes (10-0, 10 KOs) maintained his perfect record against a tough but ultimately overwhelmed Calvin McCord (12-1, 2 KOs). Noakes landed three body shots in round four. McCord got to his feet after each one, motivated to protect his record, but the referee saved him in the end. Noakes retains his WBC Silver and wins the vacant Commonwealth title.
Pierce O'Leary of Ireland (11-0, 6 KOs) defeated Emmanuel Mungandjela of Namibia (16-4-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant WBC International Super Lightweight title. Mungandjela was knocked down but refused to yield to O'Leary, giving the 22-year-old rounds that will pay off down the road. Scores were 99-90, 99-89, and 96-92.
That is a 𝙈𝘼𝙎𝙎𝙄𝙑𝙀 shot!@tommyfletcher0 catches Jiri Krejci with knock out blow 💥
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) November 26, 2022
The card started with a bang, courtesy of young cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher (3-0, 3 KOs). The “Norfolk Nightmare” lived up to his name, blitzing Jiri Krejci of the Czech Republic (1-3-2) with a left hook to the body halfway through the first round. The 20-year-old, 6-foot-7 Fletcher intends to work his way through the cruiserweight division before moving to heavyweight. Keep your eye on this one.