The Monday LunchBox

‘Canelo’ Alvarez consoles a brave but bloodied John Ryder.

Worldwide fight and boxing event of the weekend was held Saturday (6th) before an estimated 55,000 fans in the Akron soccer stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico. Hometown hero Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KO’s) defeated England’s John Ryder (32-6, 18 KO’s) to defend his undisputed world super-middleweight (12st/168lbs) title for a second time.

The Mexican hero, future hall-of-famer and The Ring magazine pound-for-pound #5, secured a solid victory by unanimous decision (120-107, 118-109, 118-109).

The fight was always competitive and both mixed solid shots throughout. Ryder sustained a broken nose in the second round and bled profusely throughout the remainder of the contest. This clearly affected his breathing and the effort he put in over the twelve rounds was exemplary, in a fight he was always in, but never fully in reach of victory.

Alvarez dropped his challenger midway through the fifth round with a powerful straight right and Ryder, although on the verge of being stopped, managed to regroup and give a good account of himself. Ryder ultimately finished the stronger of the two as he forced the pace in the later rounds, but by then the Mexican was clearly ahead. The Englishman’s stock has risen on the back of his performance and he can look forward to future marquee fights.

Alvarez was coming off his his trilogy victory last September over Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin, and post fight Saturday, talked of avenging his earlier 2022 loss to Dmitry Bivol up at light-heavyweight (175lbs/ 12st, 7lbs). This is a fight that all of boxing will eagerly wait to be made and is sure to be big box office. Bivol is expected by us to be victorious again, but Alvarez is sure to rise to the challenge to cement his already assured legacy.

Also Saturday, in Birmingham, UK on a BOXXER card, world ranked light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (17-0, 13 KO’s) laboured to a unanimous twelve round points victory against capable Pavel Stepien (18-1-1, 12 KO’s) from Poland. Rio Olympic bronze medallist Buatsi, had been out the ring for over a year and this fight served to shake off his ‘ring rust’ and retain his undefeated record and world ranking with the sanctioning bodies. He was never in trouble throughout but seemed to struggle to change gear to up the pace.

The light-heavyweight division is ‘red hot’ in the UK on a world level with five fighters ranked by The Ring magazine in their top ten. Current British, European and Commonwealth champion Dan Azeez (19-0, 13 KO’s) was in attendance from ringside and a fight between the two is a natural. Callum Smith, Anthony Yarde and Craig Richards also feature in the rankings, with Smith (29-1, 21 KO’s) contesting the world title soon against intimidating Russian, Artur Beterbiev.

The BOXXER card also featured the long anticipated third professional outing of Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Ben Whittaker (3-0, 2 KO’s) also at 175lbs dominating and stopping Jordan Grant in the third round. The flash and multi-talented Whittaker from Wolverhampton, England has huge potential and the performance further enhanced this. The 25 year old has the world at his feet.

Whittaker was joined in victory by fellow Tokyo Olympic medallist Lauren Price (4-0, 1 KO), who clearly defeated Kirstie Bavington on points to win the first contested British female welterweight (147lbs/10st, 7lbs) title. An extremely bright future is expected for Price, from Wales, who is likely to be the new face of British and world female boxing. The famous (Lord) Lonsdale belt was awarded post fight, the first time to a female, and Price adds this to her many amateur titles which include a gold in last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Bright futures await for all the Olympians on show on Saturday with exciting contests ahead. ‘Canelo’ Alvarez meanwhile rolls onto a Bivol rematch when terms are finally agreed. A minefield awaits before light-heavyweight superiority is determined.

This weekly feature is to also raise awareness of the Ringside Charitable Trust.

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