From street fighter to world champion
Canadian boxer Ford eyeing a successful title defence on Saturday, and then the ultimate payday
He used to get into trouble with the police for fighting on the streets in his native Canada.
Now, professional boxer Ryan "The Real Deal" Ford only throws punches in the ring - and his ambition is to eventually earn a million-dollar fight.
The 35-year-old will headline the Roar of Singapore II event at Resorts World Sentosa this Saturday night, when he defends his Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) world light heavyweight title against New Zealand's Robert "The Butcher" Berridge.
It sure seemed like Ford, who is unbeaten in 11 bouts since making the switch from professional mixed martial arts (MMA) to boxing in 2010, was fated to end up as a boxing champion.
After all, his father Al was Canada's lightweight champion and, at his peak, ranked No. 3 in the world.
But Ryan's path to fight sport was a tough one.
In an interview with The New Paper last week, he said: "My mum saw my dad boxing back in the day - you get beat up when you box 15 rounds - and didn't want me to box.
"But I was always taught how to fight, and I was in lots of fights on the streets in Edmonton.
"My dad left when I was about four years old so my mum raised me and my brother and sister as a single mum, and we lived in low-income housing... We grew up in a rough neighbourhood.
"And I was just a kid who had a temper. I liked to fight.
"If somebody challenged me, all I needed to know was where and when.
"I have 27 MMA fights and 11 pro boxing fights. But I couldn't tell you how many fights I fought on the street."
Tired of getting on the wrong side of the law, Ford became a professional MMA fighter in 2007.
"I thought, 'Hey, instead of the police coming and putting the handcuffs on me, I might as well get paid to do it, right?'," he said, with a laugh.
Ford had a decent run in MMA, even appearing in two events with Bellator MMA - one of the most popular organisations in the world behind industry juggernauts Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) - and winning both of those fights in 2012.
But, in 2015, the heavy-hitter decided to turn his focus to professional boxing, where he had made his debut in 2010.
Ford has been racking up victory after victory since, with seven of his wins coming by way of knock-out.
He won the UBO world light heavyweight title - his first world championship - when he defeated New Zealander Sam Rapira at the first Roar of Singapore event at Jalan Besar on Feb 17, and this Saturday will be the first time he's defending the title.
But Ford has already set his sights beyond Berridge.
"I want a million-dollar fight. That's what I want," he said.
"I want to be the best fighter I can from training, and prove it when I step in the ring against the best competition.
"(Berridge is) a guy who's got a lot more boxing experience than me.
"He has 29 wins and six losses, and has fought a lot of tough guys around the world.
"But I'm different to all those guys he's fought.
"I'm tougher. I'm badder. And I'm better."
Ford declined to reveal how much he is getting for the upcoming event, but said Ringstar Management - organisers of Roar of Singapore - has paid him the most as a professional boxer.
TNP understands the total fight purse for Saturday is in the high six figures and, as the headliner, Ford would get a good chunk of that.
"It's good enough to take care of me and my family so I can fight and train full-time," he said.
For now, Ford is focused on getting the job done at RWS.
"I'm excited to be back here in Singapore," he said.
"I feel after my last fight I've gained a fan base here.
"I love the people here, and my job is to entertain them and put on the best fight I can.
"I've had a hard training camp, probably my best one, and I'm way better than I was in my fight in February.
"So, when people come to this one, they're going to see why they call me the Real Deal."
*Tickets for the Roar of Singapore II event are available at www.getwaave.com