WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) decisioned John Ryder (28-5, 16 KOs) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
In a highly conpetitive fight, much more than the scoring would suggest, Ryder provided a night of frustration for the hometown fighter.
In the fourth the champion suffered a small cut after enjoying a good spell of pressure in the earlier rounds but Ryder started to close the gap thereafter, taking away the advantages of the champion to make things very awkward with the look of concern replaced with relief as the scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 were read out.
“I’ve gone in against the world number one there and feel like I edged it,” said Ryder afterwards “I have proven myself on the world scene and deserve to come again. He is a great fighter but I live and breathe this. I re-locate, I am there day in and day out. We have not had the rub of the green but that is boxing.
“I feel that was harsh. I feel I forced the fight a lot and did enough to win.”
Smith gave his version of events saying, “I was probably sulking because I knew it was not my best performance, I thought it was a little bit too easy early on and I don’t know if it was his game plan to finish strong and it made it awkward.
“I am very disappointed in myself, I am a perfectionist. I knew it was close but I never thought I was behind.”