Sheffield boxing: Birley bomber Adam Etches to battle John Ryder in London

Adam Etches celebrates victory over Zoltan Sera in March - he's not boxed since.
Adam Etches celebrates victory over Zoltan Sera in March - he's not boxed since.
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Adam Etches is taking the biggest risk of his boxing career - and it comes after campaigning just once since the Summer of 2015.

Sheffield’s ‘Birley Bomber’ lost his unbeaten record to Siarhei Khamitski, earlier in that year, and has struggled with injury since.

Now he has accepted a super middleweight contest against John Ryder, who beat Khamitski 12 months ago.

Ryder, whose 23 victims include ex-Sheffield boxer Jez Wilson, has a fearsome reputation. But Etches is ready to face him at Olympia, London on February 4.

“This is a good fight for me” said the 25-year-old.

“I am 100% free of injury and while I did not train a lot last year I’ve been hard at it recently and will have eight to ten weeks preparation.

“This is my opportunity to kick on. I could have picked an easy fight, but when this came up I said yes straight away. I’ll fight anyone.

“You never forget losing and Khamitski caught me with a punch when I’d won every round. I lost and Ryder beat him afterwards, so it will feel like revenge if I can beat Ryder. He is good all-round, with good feet and strong inside.

“But I have an equaliser - whenever I am in the ring I am dangerous. People shouldn’t write me off.”

Etches is hoping to start sparring this week, possibly against another southpaw, Ryan Aston, from the Midlands.

Ryder has only been beaten by quality opponents, the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, but the Sheffielder says: “He may be a very good fighter and a nice kid but I will have no respect for him on the night - that will come after. The best man will win.”

The fight is on the Chris Eubank Jr v Renold Quinlan IBO world super middleweight title undercard.

So will Etches be tapping Eubank on the shoulder for a future fight: “Let’s see what happens with this one first” he said.

“In my eyes, my fight with Ryder will be the most interesting scrap on the card.”

The show, promoted by Richard Poxon, will also include Sheffield featherweight Barry Awad (Kid Galahad) who will be looking for his 22nd straight win.