Jesse Ryder's venture into the boxing ring may not be a one-off affair.
The troubled New Zealand cricketer has taken time out from the sport to clear his head and part of his self-imposed therapy involves attempting to knockout sports broadcaster Mark Watson next month.
And after Watson's antics today, Ryder may have added motivation.
Ryder originally called out former Black Cap Craig McMillan, but has instead settled with squaring off with the cocky Watson, as one of the appetisers to Shane Cameron's clash with American Monte Barrett at Auckland's SkyCity on July 5.
The destructive Wellington all-rounder has only just started sparring and admitted his maiden fight came out of left field, but hinted at intentions to take part in the Fight for Life later this year.
"I'm going to stick with boxing," Ryder said today. "At the end of the year there's going to be the Fight for Life. If this goes well and there's an option for me to fight in that, I'd definitely be keen to do that as well.
"It's pretty crazy. It came around quickly. I wasn't expecting it. I'd only just got back from India [Premier League] and was doing a bit of boxing for fitness. It's something I want to do to challenge myself and see what it's like."
It wouldn't be boxing without banter. And Watson, opinionated at the best of times, happily provided today's entertainment.
Ryder began by explaining how the fight came about, before Watson landed the first body blow.
"I hadn't heard of him [Watson] until someone sent me a little snippet of him saying he would run rings around me in the ring," Ryder said. "I put a cheeky wee Tweet out there saying it sounds like he's calling me out and it escalated from there."
Watson needed no second invitation.
"I don't expect Jesse to have heard of me too much. I have a reasonably intelligent audience," Watson taunted.
Ryder, however, was confident he would have more punch over the three, two minute rounds.
"I'm going to out box him," he predicted. "I definitely wouldn't mind taking him down early, an early knockout. But I want to show I can box properly."
Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker also had his first professional opponent confirmed.
Matchmakers had lined up an Australian, but Parker's manager, Sir Bob Jones, vetoed that for a more challenging test.
The 20-year-old will instead face-off against 38-year-old Huntly physical education teacher Dean Garmonsway, who has two wins by knockout, but lost to Clarence Tillman last year.
"The other Australian guy was someone I could just tip over," Parker said. "Bob didn't want that. He wants someone that can take and give a punch. Someone who is serious about the fight.
"I was with him [Garmonsway] down in Sonny [Bill Williams'] camp so I've seen a bit of what he can do. I respect him as a boxer.
"I want to win and look good to show what I have. It's important to make a statement but also get the first professional fight under my belt."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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