SHEFFIELD fighter Ryan Rhodes today vowed to repay Star readers for a lifetime of support by winning the WBC light-middleweight crown on Sunday in Mexico - now send him a Mexican Wave, writes Graham Walker.
We want YOU to cheer him on to victory by sending us your good luck messages. We will get them to him and publish them in The Star and on-line.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report with Ryan explaining what your support means to him.
The 34-year-old faces his toughest challenge in young Mexican superstar Saul Alvarez, 20, - the bright new star in Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy stable.
Rhodes, who has won 45 of his 49 fights (31KOs), is confident of a win. Despite a 14-year age gap and having to fight in the Mexican’s own backyard, he reckons he has the power, fitness and experience to see off the menace who beat Matthew Hatton to win the title.
Rhodes’ quest began in a humble Welsh ice rink 16 years ago and he’s confident it will reach the pinnacle with him crowned champ in front of 15,000 Mexicans at the Arena VFG in Guadalajara on Sunday.
It’s his third tilt at a world title - he lost on points against Otis Grant in 1997 then Gary Lockett in 2006 for the WBU then WBU middleweight titles. But he has never lost at light-middleweight and Alvarez has never faced such a big and experienced operator. The thought of fans cheering him on thousands of miles back home will give him an extra edge, Rhodes says. “I’ve always had fantastic support from local fans and The Star - from being aged 19, winning British titles. Now it’s time to give something back” said Rhodes.
“It will mean a lot knowing people will be watching the fight back home on TV - sat on the edge of their seat and screaming my name. Plenty of people are going to be shouting for me and knowing that will help me. I know they will be with me in spirit and I’m going to give 110 per cent and bring the title back to Sheffield.
“You will be reading in The Star on Monday that the new WBC light-middleweight champion is Ryan Rhodes.”
He has already had several good luck messages. “I’ve had good advice from Ricky Hatton, text messages from Joe Calzaghe and Johnny Nelson - Naz has been on the phone. I’ve had fantastic support from the boxing fraternity. .”
His ring entrance is expected around 4am (BST.) The Star will be bring you the result on our web site thestar.co.uk - followed by a full analysis in the paper.
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