Callum Smith edged past John Ryder in a thrilling fight at the M&S Bank Arena, which saw the Liverpool fighter retain his WBA Super, Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond Super-Middleweight titles.

The fight started with a cagey opener as neither fighter landed any meaningful shots. Smith looked to hold the centre of the ring as Ryder was looking to spoil the Liverpudlian’s work.

Round two was much of the same, only this time possibly edging in Ryder’s favour. The underdog was forcing the action, sitting on Smith’s chest and not giving him any time or space to move. Very tough to call after the opening two rounds.

In the third round it was Ryder again looking to force the pace. The challenger was tucking up and frustrating Smith, who remained composed and unphased by the onslaught from ‘The Gorilla’.

The fourth was much of the same, neither fighter convincingly winning the opening rounds. The tall, rangy frame of Smith was looking strong, whilst Ryder was landing his fair share of eye-catching shots.

In the fifth, it looked as if Callum Smith was beginning to go through the gears. The crowd were on their feet as ‘Mundo’ landed a powerful left hook to the head of the challenger, who bit down on his gum shield and continued to come at Smith.

It looked as if the tactics from Tony Sims in the Ryder corner were spot on thus far, with Ryder clearly frustrating the champion.

Halfway through the fight, it was still too close to call. The judge’s scorecards could possibly have been in Smith’s favour, as he was landing the cleaner shots. Ryder, however, was showing no signs of backing off, looking stronger and stronger minute by minute.

In round seven, the challenger landed a beautiful uppercut on Smith, which seemed to grab the scouser’s attention. A reminder that the champion was most certainly not going to have it all his own way.

Ryder again started the eighth round the brighter, landing a flurry of shots which pushed Smith back to the ropes. He then finished the round the stronger, landing three shots unanswered on Smith’s chin.

The whole of the M&S Bank Arena could sense this was a close fight.

Going into the final round it looked like there was nothing between the two fighters. Ryder was still landing clubbing shots, whilst Smith was beginning to look tired.

It was beginning to look like there could be an upset on the cards, as Ryder was looking the stronger coming towards the end of the fight.

After 12 rounds of boxing between Callum Smith and John Ryder, nobody could call it. The consensus ringside was that Smith had won the early rounds, but that Ryder had come on strong towards the end of the fight.

It went to the judge’s scorecards. The scores read 117-111 and 116-112 all in favour of Smith, as he retained his WBA Super, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles.

A brilliant fight to cap off a thoroughly entertaining night of boxing.