Rhino Fighting Fit

Ryan Woolridge is fighting fit again and determined to outlast his next opponent after a step up to six-round contests.

He goes again at the Eastside Rooms, on Woodcock Street in Birmingham, when BCB Promotions return to the venue, come the Saturday night of February 25.

Woolridge, from Bloxwich near Walsall, moved from four rounds in September, tackling BCB stable-mate Dwain ‘Cheeky’ Grant.

The 22-year-old super welterweight kept Grant at bay for an over-the-distance success, nudging past him by two points to record a 58-56 scoreline.

That moved him to 4-0, as a professional, with another proposed ring date in December not coming to pass. He instead returns on February 25.

Woolridge’s four-round apprenticeship saw him vanquish Kearon Thomas, Paul Cummings and MJ Hall, with Cummings dropped to the canvas along the way.

He’s been trained by Peter Hickenbottom, since his amateur career, and is the first to turn pro, after coming through the ranks at Great Wyrley Boxing Club.

Woolridge registered 12 wins from 20 amateur bouts, before becoming a pro at the age of 20. Now 22, ‘the Rhino’ believes that he’s moving along nicely.

He said: “I’ve, pretty much, picked up where l left off and I’ve been back in the gym since the New Year. I’m looking to get a few in from here.

“I was hoping to get out again before Christmas. The plan was to box on December 22 (BCB show at the Eastside Rooms), but we didn’t take it, in the end.

“It’s a good job that I didn’t, because I came down ill with the flu (on December 16). It took a lot out of me and I had to build myself back up again.

“I was ill all over Christmas. I usually go out for a run on Christmas morning, but I wasn’t good. I was even off my food so, at least, I didn’t put much weight on!

“I last boxed in September and, looking back on the six-rounder, it was a great learning fight. He (Dwain Grant) was always going to be a tricky customer.

“He’s a BCB (Promotions) fighter and I’d seen him in the gym, a couple of weeks before. I’d just finished sparring Tyler Denny (English middleweight champion).

“He’s been around the block and is an awkward opponent, for anybody, so it was a proper introduction to the longer distances. I felt that it went well.

“He won a couple of rounds. I personally felt that he took the fourth and that we drew the last. We both went for it and there were a lot of exchanges.

“It was a bit of a mind game, he tried to tire me out, but I’d trained hard and I’m confident in the engine that I’ve got. I kept pushing and found a few openings.

“I had to really think about what I was doing and set traps, so I took a lot from it. I was taller than him, so the plan was to box him and that’s what happened.

“Another one of my opponents, Paul (Cummings), boxed on the same bill and stayed behind to watch me. He messaged me (on Facebook) to tell me how much I’ve come on.

“I just want to learn the pro game, before jumping into anything, and I’ve got next year as a target for a title fight. There are some good lads around at my weight.”

Tickets for the Eastside Rooms bill are available, priced at £40 standard or £75 VIP ringside, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com.

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