I've got more out of boxing than it's taken from me, says retired Ryder

Former world super-middleweight title challenger John Ryder has announced his retirement from boxing.

The man nicknamed The Gorilla will now work at the Matchroom Gym as an assistant to his trainer, Tony Sims, hanging up the gloves on the back of a typically courageous effort while being stopped in nine rounds by Jaime Munguia.

In a statement, Ryder said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the decision to hang up my gloves and retire from professional boxing…. Although I didn’t manage to win that World Title, I’ve achieved and experienced more than I could have ever imagined when I first put on a pair of gloves and I wouldn’t change that for any belt.”

The 35-year-old had a tough fight with Canelo Alvarez in Mexico last year, and retired with 32 wins against seven losses.

Arguably his best win was defeating Danny Jacobs in a close one in London, but many felt he was hard done by when he dropped a decision to Callum Smith for the world super-middleweight title in 2019.

Here, Ryder talks about some of his memories from a pro career that started in 2010. 

You’ve announced your retirement and there’s been an outpouring of affection and respect, how has it been since you let the world know you are retired?

It’s been amazing, as good as you could possibly dream of. Obviously 99.9 per cent of it has been positive, you obviously get the odd one or two with a bit of negativity but you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and I have done through my career and I will do through my early retirement.

Do you leave with regrets, or is it all good? 

I think it’s all good now. I can’t live with regrets; I’d end up driving myself mad. I think I gave boxing my all. There’s times when I wasn’t honest with myself and should have moved up to super-middleweight sooner, but we live and we learn and it will stand me in good stead with moving forwards in a coaching role.

What’s been the highest point?

The wins are hard to replace, the great wins, but even my defeat against Canelo. At the time, I didn’t realise the magnitude of it, but having watched it back and seen the event, the show that was put on display and the whole week around it – the police escorts to and from – that takes some beating, but it was actually me it happened to.

Is there any bitterness at all about the Callum Smith night?

No. The Smith family are a blinding bunch of people. How can I be bitter to them? They weren’t scoring the fight, I wish them nothing but well; the brothers, the dad, they’re all great people and it’s a shame but ultimately the goal was to get the Canelo fight, and I got that in the end.

So, are you going to be the right-hand man of your trainer Tony Sims now?

I hope so. That’s the aim. I’ve got to get my license sent off and hopefully get the courses done. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, looking forward to spending more time with my partner and my kids and being more present and not so regimental and just being able to spend time with them more.

Do you feel like you are one of the select few in boxing who has got out more than they have put in to boxing?

Yes, definitely. I feel like I’ve got more out of boxing than boxing’s taken from me. And the stage I’m at now is where it can quickly turn, one fight too many… In the build-up [to the Jaime Munguia fight], we spoke to Sampson, who promotes Benavidez and he said, ‘It would be good to do a fight with you and Benavidez next, should you win.’ And it was like, ‘Great, but I’m not sure I want to fight again. If I’d won that fight, it might have forced my hand to taking fights that I didn’t need to take. So I think, all round, in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably worked out best for me and my health in the long run.