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Watson’s Winners and Losers of the boxing week: John Ryder, Daniel Jacobs, more

John Ryder’s biggest career win, Daniel Jacobs with another tough setback, and more.

John Ryder’s win was controversial, but he has to be the top Winner for the week
John Ryder’s win was controversial, but he has to be the top Winner for the week
Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has been a contributor at Bad Left Hook since 2018.


John Ryder

Eeeeesh, I mean, John Ryder’s split decision win over Daniel Jacobs this weekend was certainly controversial, but if anyone deserved a generous nod in a big fight then the “Gorilla” has got to be fairly near the top of that list.

Still, a win is a win, with the Islington fighter proving his hunger late down the stretch, never relenting in his front-footed pressure against the skill of Jacobs.

I scored the fight 115-113 to Jacobs, with the American taking the first six and the last, but Ryder’s strength and work rate is always going to catch the eye of at least one judge for pockets within rounds.

Ryder was quick to show his hand after the fight – he wants that Canelo payday next in the UK. Why wouldn’t he?!

Now that would make him a real WINNER.

Team Johnny Fisher

Well, I learnt something this weekend.

Heavyweight Johnny Fisher’s dad – “Big John” – is more famous and popular than his hard-hitting son!

Johnny Fisher may have sold circa 2,500 tickets for his fifth pro fight on Saturday night, subsequently turning the Ally Pally into an Essex nightclub, but his dad holds all the aces.

“Big John” has become quite the online sensation on TikTok by simply shouting “BOSH!” and sampling an array of beer and Chinese food.

The Fisher family are turning into quite the hit. Whether this notoriety can be matched by success in the ring will become apparent over the next few years – if not, I’m sure they’ll have a fun ride with a growing cult following.

The Alexandra Palace

Boxing returned to the iconic ‘Ally Pally’ for the first big boxing event since Bellew vs Miranda in 2012 this weekend and the north London venue proved a massive hit.

Crowning the summit of Muswell Hill, the Alexandra Palace is more au fait with darts, snooker or – ah, I dunno – food festivals and firework nights than boxing in recent years, but the atmosphere on Saturday night was spot on.

Partisan support for Johnny Fisher and local boy John Ryder helped, but a venue with such history – opened in 1873 – adds something special to a fight night that a modern stadium or arena can’t recreate.

It may not have the esteem of The Blue Horizon or York Hall yet, but more should be done to drag big fights to the Palace.


“The Gloves are Off”

I’ve flipped back and forth regarding Amir Khan vs Kell Brook over the past few years, and probably written double-figures worth of articles contradicting myself at every turn.

But, I am finally settling on this conclusion: this fight is better late than never, rather than better never than late.

HOWEVER, this has nothing to do with the pair of British rivals’ episode of “The Gloves are Off” this past weekend.

With nothing but bragging rights on the line we all wanted a little bit of spice from their head-to-head, with Johnny Nelson poking and prodding both men into reactions a la Froch-Groves.

All we got was bumbling, shit chat and your classic schoolground threats – oh, not forgetting the old classic handshake refusal at the end.

Maybe the format is a little dead, or maybe this rivalry has well and truly lost all its heat after spending a decade at the back of the fridge.

Still. Roll on Saturday night. Right?!

David Avanesyan

David Avansyan is fast becoming one of the biggest bogeymen in boxing.

It breaks my heart to chuck the wholesome, likable and dangerous welterweight into the LOSERS column, but it’s unavoidable following the announcement of his next opponent – Oskari Metz.

“Who?” you ask.

A Finnish welterweight who has amassed a 15-0 record across Finland and eastern Europe without exceeding eight rounds, I answer.

Avanesyan has recorded five impressive stoppage wins since 2019, handing big Ls to the likes of Kerman Lejarraga and Josh Kelly in their own backyards, but the Newark-based Russian just can’t get that springboard into a big fight.

The European welterweight champion will turn 34 in August and the first signs of deterioration over the next few years will no doubt be met by a sudden influx of knocks at his door.

Avanesyan defines membership of the “who needs him club.” *sighs*

Daniel Jacobs

In a fight where both men admitted that a loss would pretty much leave them without any big options going forward, Daniel Jacobs let John Ryder back into a fight he had a firm grip on.

Following on from a below-par performance against Gabe Rosado in the back-end of 2020, a lay-off could well have been just the tonic for the 35-year-old “Miracle Man,” but a struggle to keep the southpaw off his chest in the second half proved pivotal.

I’ve mentioned early in this piece that I had Jacobs winning this fight, but he rolled the dice in making his UK debut and a pair of ones was his prize.

Jacobs may well have gotten the nod Stateside, but if my Grandma had wheels she’d be a bike – shoulda, woulda, couldas ain’t gonna land Jacobs another tilt at world honours.

Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles

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