Saunders edges out Ryder

  • Last Updated: September 23 2013, 9:35 BST

Billy Joe Saunders retained his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles with a narrow points victory over John Ryder.

Billy Joe Saunders: Just had the edge over a gallant John Ryder
Billy Joe Saunders: Just had the edge over a gallant John Ryder

The pair went into the fight at the Copper Box unbeaten and were evenly matched throughout an absorbing contest.

Ryder's more roughhouse tactics knocked Saunders off his stride in the early going but when the champion was able to stand at range he looked at his fluent best.

The Islington man landed his best shot in the seventh round, briefly rocking Saunders, but it appeared to spur him into life.

The eighth saw Saunders moving better and landing his combinations while evading Ryder's power shots, and the championships rounds edged towards the more experienced fighter.

But Ryder had a strong 11th round to give Saunders something to think about and by the end it was hard to call a clear winner.

In fact, there was hardly a round between them with one judge scoring it 115-114 with the other two turning in cards of 115-113.

Saunders moved to 18-0 while Ryder, in his first 12-rounder, enhanced his reputation in slipping to 15-1.

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