Ryder eyeing cricket return in summer

Robert Lowe, NZ Newswire June 14, 2012, 12:37 pm

Jesse Ryder, who is preparing for his first boxing match as part of his break from cricket, is eyeing a return to the domestic game with Wellington next summer.

Ryder will fight Mark Watson, a sports talkback host who has a background as a training partner for endurance athletes.

The bout, under celebrity Fight for Life rules, will be over three two-minute rounds and is part of the undercard for Shane Cameron's heavyweight contest with American Monte Barrett in Auckland on July 5.

Ryder, whose career has been blotted by off-field incidents, last month chose not to seek a New Zealand Cricket contract for the 2012-13 season - to concentrate on health and fitness goals.

He says the decision was a cricketing one and he needed to get away from being on the road for 11 months of the year, to focus on other things.

However, the 27-year-old batsman, who averages 40.93 in Tests and 34.37 in ODIs, is keen to play for the Firebirds again next summer.

"This was never about taking the year off and completely not doing cricket," he said on Thursday.

"I love the game and when summer comes around, I'll be raring to go."

During his spell away from cricket, he is working on his golf game and also looking at career options further down the track.

Ryder's last Blacks Caps appearance was in late February during the one-day series against South Africa.

He was dropped for the last match after breaking team protocol by drinking alcohol while recovering from injury.

After coming back to New Zealand from playing in the IPL with the Pune Warriors, he saw boxing training as a way of getting fit, before the offer of a bout came along.

He hopes to be down to around 105kg on fight night, which would still give him a significant weight advantage over the 95kg Watson.

If all goes well, he says he'll look at getting back into the ring for the Fight for Life charity event later in the year.

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