By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) captured the interim WBA super middleweight title with an impressive third round knockout of previously unbeaten Bilal Akkawy (20-1-1, 16 KOs) in a scheduled twelve round bout.
Ryder, a southpaw who was slated to face off against former world champion David Lemieux in the evening’s co-featured bout before Lemieux withdrew due to injury, started slow against his substitute opponent, probing with his right jab for most of the first two rounds while Akkawy offered little in return. Ryder upped his output in round three, which changed the complexion of the fight, as Ryder dropped Akkawy early in the round with a right hook, sending Akkawy rolling head over heels from the punch.
Akkawy, an Australian probably best known for being one of Canelo Alvarez’s main sparring partners for his rematch with GGG, didn’t seem badly hurt, but when action resumed Ryder floored Akkawy again with a series of damaging blows, culminating with a left uppercut, right hook combination for the second knockdown. Akkawy rose again, this time on unsteady legs, and Ryder continued to batter him until referee Jay Nady stepped in after a pair of left uppercuts by Ryder snapped Akkawy’s head back in the corner and looked to have him on the verge of going down again. Time of the stoppage was 2:12 of round three.