Saunders edges out Ryder
Billy Joe Saunders (18-0) retained his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles with a narrow points victory over John Ryder (15-1) on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena, London.
The judges scores were 115-114, 115-113 and 115-113 in favour of the champion.
The pair went into the fight 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 7th round, briefly rocking Saunders, but it appeared to spur him into life.
The 8th 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.