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27 APRIL 2018

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Rhodes on verge of third world title shot

By Andrew Wake: Victory over tough South African Vincent Vuma at the O2 Arena in London this Saturday (November 15) could lead to Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes’ third shot at a world title.

The 31-year-old southpaw challenged unsuccessfully for WBO crowns at middleweight in 1997 and 1999 but, now back at his preferred weight of 154Ibs, he is aiming to make it third time lucky and capturing Vuma’s WBC International title is the first step on the road.

“The WBC have guaranteed it will be for a top 10 ranking,” said Rhodes. “The highest place I’ve had before was number nine when I was 20-years-old so to be back there more than 10 years later will be fantastic.

“The plan is to have a world title shot at light-middleweight. The champion (Vernon Forrest) can have a voluntary defence and I can’t any reason why I can’t be fighting for the WBC title in a years time.

“The International title is a lovely belt but I’m looking further. It’s the ranking that is important. I don’t think I’m that far from a world title shot for the WBC or one of the other titles. The mantra is aiming high for 2009.”

But firstly Rhodes must get past the threat Vuma, 26-2 (15), carries and he certainly isn’t taking the man from the southern hemisphere, or his training, lightly.

“I see him as a counter-puncher and I’m a counter-puncher so it’ll be an interesting fight, particularly in the early rounds.

“But my preparations have gone perfectly. I’ve been out to David Haye’s set up in Cyprus and I’ve sparred with Tony Dobson and George Groves, who is just turning pro and is very talented kid.”

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