Sandy Ryan has put the heartbreak of not representing her country at the Olympics to one side, as she looks to fulfill the promise displayed in a glittering amateur career when she kicks off her professional career on Saturday.
Ryan, who will compete as a super lightweight, but says she can fight at the weight above as well, will make her professional bow against Kirstie Bavington on the undercard of Xu Can’s WBA featherweight world title defence against Leigh Wood at Matchroom’s first Fight Camp.
The 27-year-old claimed a 2014 World Championship Silver, a Bronze medal at the European Games in 2015 and Commonwealth Gold in 2018, during a stellar seven-year stint in the unpaid code.
However, her hopes of a place in Tokyo were dashed after a qualification change, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting a professional switch signing to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
“When I knew there wasn’t going to be a second qualifier I had to get my head around it,” Ryan said during a media Zoom conference call on Tuesday.
“Of course I was heartbroken, upset but I just switched my focus on the pros and I believe if you want to reach the top and you’re a top athlete, there’s going to be setbacks along the way and you’ve got to be able to manage them.
“And that was one of my setbacks and I’ve overcome it and here we are.”
Ryan is backing her ex-Team GB stablemates with the likes of Karriss Artingstall, Caroline Dubois and captain Frazer Clarke all flying the flag.
But, for the Derby fighter, Saturday night begins a journey as potentially the next female British star, as she joins a burgeoning era with five world champions.
Prior to having a professional bout, she has had elite level sparring with WBO middleweight world champion, Savannah Marshall, an experience she believes has benefited her.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) July 2, 2021
“Yeah very good, because she’s a seasoned pro,” Ryan added.
“So for me to bank the rounds in with her at this stage is very good for me.”
Sandy is carrying on a family legacy when she begins her paid journey. Her brother Dave was a former Commonwealth super lightweight champion, who retired after losing his title to now undisputed titlist, Josh Taylor.
Katie Taylor has achieved the same status as undisputed champion and following in the Irish great’s footsteps is the ultimate aim for the red-hot prospect.
“I said it from day one that I want to be up there.
“When people say women’s boxing and they say Katie Taylor, I want my name to be mentioned also.
“So, I’m just going to do everything I can and hopefully get there and get to the top.”
Ryan is a firm believer in the sweet science and has promised a display of skill against Bavington.
“I can adjust, but I’m going to stick to my boxing. I’m just going to show you a good boxing performance on Saturday night.”
Ryan’s journey promises to be an exciting one and should she adjust to the professional ranks like she stormed through the amateur game, Britain may have its sixth world champion in the not so distant future.