Sandy Ryan, with an impressive record of six wins and one loss, is poised for a defining moment in her boxing career. Despite already clinching the WBO welterweight championship earlier this year by defeating Marie-Pier Houle, she believes that her upcoming bout with Jessica McCaskill could catapult her to even greater heights in the sport.
This Saturday, in Orlando, USA, Ryan will face McCaskill, who currently holds the WBC and WBA titles, in a fight where all three world titles will be on the line. For Ryan, this journey to unified world honors began in 2007 when she followed her brother into a boxing gym. “I’ve always been sporty and played football, but my brother was a professional fighter, and that made me get into boxing. I started when I was 14, and I loved it,” Ryan shares.
Coached by Clifton Mitchell at the One Nation Amateur Boxing Club in Derby, Ryan has been honing her skills in Las Vegas ahead of the showdown with McCaskill. As she discusses her career, you might hear various background noises, as Ryan candidly admits, “Can you hear me, OK? I’m currently getting a pedicure. I’ve had [bad] nails all camp, so I’m treating myself.”
There’s a palpable sense of excitement in Ryan’s voice as she prepares for what could be the biggest fight of her career. Remarkably, she entered the professional ranks just two years ago and is already vying for a unified championship. Her decision to turn pro came earlier than planned due to her inability to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, a result of a change in qualification pathways caused by Covid-19 restrictions.
Nevertheless, missing out on the Olympics marked the end of her time as an amateur, despite winning gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and silver at the 2014 World Championships. After signing a promotional deal with Matchroom Sport, Ryan made a blazing start in the professional game, securing three victories in less than five months. However, she encountered a setback with a surprising loss to Erica Farias last year, a defeat that threatened to derail her career.
“That loss massively set me back. I was thinking my whole career was over; I thought my life was over. Everything came tumbling down,” Ryan candidly reflects. “It was quite hard to get over the loss and build my mind together. What helped me was getting the rematch. Once I did get the win, it was a full weight lifted off my mind.”
Three weeks before her first world title fight, Ryan faced another obstacle when she “rolled her ankle” and had a brief hospital stay. However, she persevered, delivering a confident performance to capture the WBO belt. Describing her feelings at that moment, Ryan says, “It’s hard to explain the feeling. In life, sometimes you can’t explain things. It meant so much because I’ve done it all my life; I just put everything into it.”
Ryan is now one of seven current British female world champions, and her remarkable achievements in the past 12 months have led to her hometown preparing to honor her with the Freedom of the City, making her the first woman to receive this distinction. “I’ve heard they are going to contact me after this fight, but I’m going to ask what I can get, what does it even mean?” Ryan humorously muses. “Do I get free coffee, or do I get to park where I want?”
As the focus shifts to her upcoming bout with Jessica McCaskill, Ryan envisions a victory as the gateway to a domestic super-fight with Natasha Jonas, the IBF welterweight title holder. Jonas had expressed interest in fighting Ryan before winning the IBF belt in July, and negotiations are also underway for a potential clash with American star Mikaela Mayer.
Ryan is optimistic that a win over McCaskill, securing the WBC and WBA titles, would pave the way for a showdown with Jonas. “I want to become undisputed at this weight, and then I want all the big names. Me vs. Natasha for undisputed is a massive fight,” she asserts confidently. “I want the big fights, and she only wants the big fights. Me and her is a no-brainer.”
In a sport known for its twists and turns, Sandy Ryan’s journey from Olympic dreams to world champion status is a testament to her determination and resilience. As she steps into the ring to face Jessica McCaskill, she carries not only her dreams but also the hopes of her hometown and the promise of a thrilling boxing spectacle for fans worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Boxing Triumph
Q: Who is Sandy Ryan, and what is her boxing career all about?
A: Sandy Ryan is a talented boxer who has made a remarkable journey from aspiring Olympian to world champion in just two years. Her boxing career is marked by dedication, setbacks, and a relentless pursuit of success.
Q: What titles has Sandy Ryan won in her boxing career?
A: Sandy Ryan became the WBO welterweight champion in April by defeating Marie-Pier Houle. She’s also aiming to unify the titles by facing Jessica McCaskill, the WBC and WBA champion, in a highly anticipated bout.
Q: How did Sandy Ryan transition from amateur to professional boxing?
A: Sandy’s decision to turn professional came earlier than planned due to changes in Olympic qualification pathways caused by Covid-19 restrictions. This forced her to leave the amateur ranks despite previous success, including gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Q: What challenges did Sandy Ryan face in her professional career?
A: Sandy Ryan faced a significant setback when she suffered a surprise defeat by Erica Farias. This loss shook her confidence, but she managed to bounce back with a rematch victory, demonstrating her resilience.
Q: What sets Sandy Ryan apart in the world of boxing?
A: Sandy Ryan’s rapid rise in professional boxing, from entering the ranks just two years ago to challenging for unified world titles, is a testament to her determination and skill. She’s become a symbol of inspiration for aspiring female boxers.
Q: What recognition has Sandy Ryan received in her hometown?
A: Sandy Ryan’s achievements have earned her the distinction of potentially receiving the Freedom of the City from Derby City Council. If granted, she would be the first woman to receive this honor.
Q: What’s next for Sandy Ryan in her boxing career?
A: Sandy Ryan is focused on her upcoming fight with Jessica McCaskill and aims to win the WBC and WBA titles. She also has her sights set on a domestic super-fight with Natasha Jonas, the IBF welterweight title holder, with the goal of becoming undisputed in her weight class.