Sandy Ryan. Mandatory Credit: Melina Pizano/Matchroom.
Sandy Ryan defends her WBO Welterweight crown against Terri Harper in a huge all-British World Title clash on the undercard of Dalton Smith vs. Jose Zepeda at the Utilita Arena Sheffield this Saturday March 23, live worldwide on DAZN

The Derby native (6-1-1, 2 KOs) would have relished a shot at becoming a two-weight World Champion against her Denaby Main rival – who holds the WBA Super-Welterweight World Title – but will instead have to make do with defending her own gold for the second time.

“We tried to get it at her weight but she didn’t want it at her weight so I’m defending my title,” said Ryan. “That’s just the facts. Of course I would have liked to have fought for her belt. I wouldn’t mind being a two-weight World Champion. They wanted to fight for my belt so they’ve still got their belt at 154lbs after the fight.”

Ryan will be looking to bounce back from a controversial split decision draw against WBC and WBA World Champion Jessica McCaskill in Orlando last September. The 30-year-old was left bitterly disappointed following her World Title unification clash having felt she did enough to earn a career-best win.

“Obviously I didn’t get the Jessica McCaskill rematch that everyone wanted to see. I needed another big fight to get me going. This is the one. Everyone saw that I won the fight but it’s not on my record is it and I haven’t got all the belts around me. I’ve learnt from it and it’s brought me to where I am now.

“I don’t want to fight someone who nobody knows. They asked if I wanted to take the fight with Terri and I just said yes straight away. The British fans are loving it; two British females, two World Champions – so it’s quite a big fight in the UK. ‘And Still’, that’s all I keep visualising.

“I think at this stage every fight is a must-win. I’ve just got to train hard like I have done and be fully prepared. She’s a good boxer. She’s good at the basics. She’s going to be fit, she’s going to be strong, she’s always in shape. I’m expecting her to come ready.”

Following the frustration of her US debut, Ryan made the decision to part ways with her entire management and training team. The former Team GB standout is now managed by Brian Peters – manager to Irish icon Katie Taylor – and trained by Emanuel ‘Flick’ Savoy at the DLX gym in Las Vegas.

“At the end of last year a lot of changes happened in my career. I changed management, changed trainers and moved out here.  made the decision to bring myself away from the UK. I feel it works better for me to be out of the UK to do a training camp. I feel like I’m fully focused. I’ve come here and I’m training really hard. 

“I just love the way they work here in the gym. They really break things down. At this level that’s just what I need. Even in sparring, you’ve got to work on certain things making sure your shots are perfect. Keep doing them and doing them until I get the shots right. I’ve got all of the fundamentals and stuff, but I never really worked on them continuously until stepping in this gym.

“Before my last fight, I came out here like four weeks to finish camp off and I loved it. The people in the gym, we got along really well. They were just welcoming me to come back and it was a great decision that I made. 

“It’s alright being away from home. As you know, I used to go to Portugal and stuff – but that’s like a 2-hour flight. This is literally like 11-hour flights. It kind of feels a bit different. I can’t just go home at the weekend. That’s probably been a bit of a mental challenge as well, but I’ve got a really good team around me right now and I’m happy.”

Ryan vs. Harper is part of a huge night of action in Sheffield, the Steel City’s fast-rising Super-Lightweight contender Dalton Smith (15-0, 11 KOs) steps up against the USA’s three-time World Title challenger Jose Zepeda ( 37-4, 28 KOs) for the WBC Silver Title, it’s Leeds against Darlington as Ishmael Davis (12-0, 6 KOs) and Troy Williamson (20-2-1, 14 KOs) meet in a Final Eliminator for the British Super-Welterweight Title,  Hyde’s Campbell Hatton (14-0, 5 KOs) goes for his first title when he meets Doncaster’s James Flint (13-1-2, 3 KOs) for the Central Area Super-Lightweight Title, Mansfield’s Nico Leivars (5-0-1) takes on Southend’s Piotr Mirga (7-2) in a Final Eliminator for the English Bantamweight Title, Sheffield Light-Heavyweight Liam Cameron (22-5, 9 KOs) returns after his first-round win over Harry Matthews last month, Newham Super-Welterweight prospect Leli Buttigieg (2-0, 1 KO) fights for the second time this year and Cusworth Middleweight Connan Murray (6-0, 1 KO) kicks off the Before The Bell action. 
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