Jesse Ryder's cricket return stays on hold

11:54, Jul 09 2012
Jaime Ridge
Jaime Ridge ready to step into the ring ahead of her fight with Rosanna Arkle.
Rosanna Arkle
Star of The GC, Rosanna Arkle.
Boxing fight night
Sally Ridge (L) and daughter Jaime Ridge await the start of a media conference promoting the fight night.
Boxing fight night
Shane Cameron and Monte Barrett stand eye-to-eye at a media promotion for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge and opponent Rosanna Arkle pose ahead of their fight.
Boxing fight night
American heavyweight Monte Barrett relaxes during the promotion for his fight against Kiwi Shane Cameron.
Boxing fight night
New Zealand cricket Jesse Ryder answers questions ahead of his fight against radio host Mark Watson.
Boxing fight night
Joseph Parker smiles ahead of his first professional fight.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge, left, and Rosanna Arkle at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Shane Cameron, left, faces off with Monte Barrett at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Rosanna Arkle at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Shane Cameron at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge, left, and Rosanna Arkle at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Shane Cameron, left, faces off with Monte Barrett at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Boxing fight night
Jamie Ridge at the weigh in for the 'Godfather of all fight nights'.
Jaime Ridge and Rosanna Arkle
Jaime Ridge, second left, and Rosanna Arkle.
Boxing fight night
Isaac Peach, right, and James Uoka in action during their fight.
Boxing fight night
Isaac Peach, right, and James Uoka in action during their fight.
Boxing fight night
Winston Peters in attendance.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge, left, punches her opponent Rosanna Arkle during their bout.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge celebreating after defeating Rosanna Arkle.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge and Rosanna Arkle in action.
Boxing fight night
Sally Ridge, Mother of Jaime Ridge, wishes her daughter luck before the fight.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge, right, punches Rosanna Arkle during their boxing bout.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge, left, punches Rosanna Arkle during their bout.
Boxing fight night
Rosanna Arkle, right, punches Jaime Ridge during their bout.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge hugs Rosanna Arkle after their boxing bout.
Boxing fight night
Monty Betham and Jaime Ridge after the fight.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge and Rosanna Arkle in action.
Boxing fight night
Mark Watson is pummeled by Jesse Ryder, blue, in his first round loss.
Boxing fight night
Mark Watson is pummeled by Jesse Ryder, blue, in his first round loss.
Boxing fight night
Mark Watson is pummeled by Jesse Ryder, blue, in his first round loss.
Boxing fight night
Jesse Ryder celebrates his win against Mark Watson.
Boxing fight night
Dean Garmonsway in punched by second round winner Joseph Parker.
Boxing fight night
Dean Garmonsway, left, and Joseph Parker in action.
Boxing fight night
Jaime Ridge and her mum Sally after the boxing fight in which she beat GC star Rosanna Arkle.
Shane Cameron gallery
Shane Cameron lands the knock-out blow on Monte Barrett.
Shane Cameron gallery
Shane Cameron celebrates after knocking out Monte Barrett.

Black Caps batsman Jesse Ryder has put his return to cricket on hold, revealing after his first foray into boxing that he has turned down an approach to play in the Sri Lankan Premier League.

Ryder, who bashed broadcaster Mark Watson on his way to a first round victory on the undercard of Shane Cameron's fight with Monte Barrett at the Sky City Convention Centre, has never been in better shape.

But while he has had plenty of opportunities to return to cricket, he says his focus for the time being is on staying healthy, achieving goals and "staying off the booze".

The long-time "wild child" of New Zealand Cricket has been sober for "109 days" and has no plans to hit the bottle any time soon.

But nor, for that matter, does he have any plans to hit the cricket field either.

In late-May, he opted to make himself unavailable for a New Zealand Cricket contract, choosing instead to take some time away from the game.

He also turned down an opportunity to play county cricket in England after returning to New Zealand from the Indian Premier League but it was thought he was considering taking part in Sri Lanka's inaugural tournament in August.

But with other things on his mind, Ryder wasn't lured by the prospect of pocketing an amount believed to be upwards of $35,000 for several weeks' work.

"I had an offer for a contract to play in Sri Lanka but I gave it away because I want to focus on getting fit and doing a few other goals that I've got," he said.

After watching him comprehensively overcoming Watson in Auckland last night, the crowd cheered loudly for the Black Caps hero, most notably when the ring announcer, during a post-fight interview, asked him when he would be returning to cricket.

That is unlikely to be before the New Zealand summer.

Of his first boxing victory, a pleased Ryder said he had loved the experience.

"It's awesome. I've still got full respect for Mark too," he said.

"A few of the boys have told me that it takes a crazy man to get in the ring and you can see it.

"You get in there and, man, what a rush it is.

"I was lucky enough to come out with the win tonight.

"It's good for my cricket career from a fitness point of view and also attitude-wise.

"All of this has helped me on my road to stay off the booze, get fit and have a lot of motivation leading up to summer when I want to get back into cricket."

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Jesse Ryder
KING HIT: Jesse Ryder lands a punch during his fight against Mark Watson.

Fairfax Media