HAS gloves, will travel. Once again, Wade Ryan has lived up to his road warrior mentality.
The criminally underestimated Ryan, who has held state and regional titles in his five years as a professional, has been hand picked to test the mettle of highly regarded prospect Tim Tszyu over ten rounds for a WBC affiliated regional title on Sunday afternoon at Star Casino.
No fight result is ever set in stone, but one too many have underestimated the ability of Ryan (14-5, 3 KOs), who has made an honest career out of beating the odds. A quick glance at his resume verifies this, with razor-thin losses to Liam Hutchinson and later Wes Capper for national title honours.
The Gunnedah is rightly seen as humble and softly spoken, but even he is excited for his next challenge.
“I have a bit happening at the moment, it’s a big fight for me fighting against Tim Tszyu,” said Ryan to Aus-Boxing. “Everything has been coming along pretty good for this fight. My preparation has been good and my weight has been good. I’m just looking forward to it.”
Ryan, 27, who currently holds the WBC Asia Continental middleweight title, an honour he earned by defeating the previously unbeaten Adili Abulimiti in China in 2016, will move down in weight to challenge for the vacant light middleweight version of the aforementioned bauble.
It takes only one look at the determination that Ryan has put into this camp to realise that the opportunity on offer is less about the title, but the chance of marking the clean resume of Tim Tszyu with it’s very first blemish in the paid ranks. With that in mind, Ryan has declared Sunday as the moment he strikes gold.
“I’m going to light middleweight for this fight,” he said. “Fighting Tim is a big opportunity for me – if I can beat Tim and beat him well – I see it opening up some doors for me. I just hope it will put my name out there, I’m just really appreciative on being able to get onto a good card.”
“It’s an unreal card and I’m glad to be apart of it, it’s a real buzz for me.”
“Tim Tszyu is a young up-and-comer and he’s looking to make a statement. But I can tell you – I’m looking to make a stand myself – it’s going to be a good fight I think. He’s only had six professional fights and this will be my twentieth, so he’ll be in for a tough night.”
“He hasn’t been around long, but I’m aware he has done the rounds in sparring. But I’ve been in the deeper water in actual fights and done the rounds. I want to take him to ten good, hard rounds.”
Ryan likens this fight to one he took in his final fight for 2016, a defence of his WBC regional strap with the hard-hitting John Halabi, whom he faced on the undercard of George Kambosos’ coming-out party against the previously world rated Brandon Ogilvie in Sydney.
The crafty southpaw was foolishly looked past, but proved his point with a fifth round stoppage.
“Halabi was a good and tough opponent, he came forward and looked to bring the fight to me, I was happy with that,” recalled Ryan. “He had high hopes you know – and you could see why – cause he fought well. He just lacked a bit of experience, I had a different fight plan and it was just how that one panned out.”
There will be many talking points from the Ultimate Fight Night come Monday morning, and Ryan plans to top that list with an almighty statement against Tim Tszyu.
“If I beat Tim and beat him well, that will no doubt give me a bit of exposure and lead to a few more opportunities into 2018,” he concluded. “It would be great to chase a few more titles, but I’ll just worry about getting over this one and go from there.”
For more information about the Johnny Lewis Ultimate Fight Night, please see here
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz