London Cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe extended his unbeaten record to 15-0 with a two-round destruction job of Italy’s Fabio Turchi (20-1) in their IBF World Title Eliminator contest. The top 10 cruiserweight headlined a BOXXER on Sky Sports Boxing Show at the OVO Arena, Wembley for the third consecutive time in just 7 months.
Richard Riakporhe is slowly building his profile and his ranking and has now won two world title eliminators as he closes down on his dream Selhurst Park world title shot. ‘The Midnight Train‘ previously beat Nigeria’s Olanrewaju Durodola in a WBC Eliminator in November and came through a domestic clash with Deion Jumah in March.
Riakporhe has shown immense power with mostly the right hand but yesterday it was the left hook to the body that did the job. There is still a level between Richard Riakporhe and the champions and instead of seeing him straight in with an elite cruiserweight, I’d like to see Riakporke vs a top 10 opponent instead. An opponent that won’t just lie down from the power.
He was clearly having troubles early in the Deion Jumah fight and another learning fight against a top cruiserweight might be just what he needs. So here are 3 options, I’d like to see him face around September time.
Michal Cieslak is very much a case of excellent matchmaking as not only would the performance be comparable to WBO Champion Lawrence Okolie’s, but Cieslak has shown excellent drawing power in London, especially for an away fighter and would do good business. Cieslak has never been stopped and arguably should’ve beaten Makabu, should Richard Riakporhe get him out of there, there is no doubt he is ready for a title shot.
Cieslak would have to apply a better game plan than he did with Okolie, as in that contest the Polishmen struggled to close the distance and land anything meaningful. Riakporhe has similar long leavers, albeit not a jab which is as effective as Okolie’s. The shot that consistently hurt Cieslak in that fight was the looping right hand and the devastating power of Riakporhe could see him brutally capitalise on that.
Mateusz Masternak, another Polish top 10 cruiserweight, is a seasoned veteran of the game and has been in the ring with the likes of Yuniel Dorticos and Tony Bellew which gives him experience with big punchers. He extended both of them the distance in competitive fights and could do the same with Riakporhe even at 35 years of age.
Masternak is on a 5-fight unbeaten streak since losing to Dorticos in the WBSS and is looking for another opportunity at the big time. Masternak is ranked #2 with the WBO, #4 with the WBC and #5 with the IBF. Richard Riakporhe has won world title eliminators in two of those governing bodies so this could be an excellent opportunity for Riakporhe to jump up the rankings into a #1 position.
Richard Riakporhe vs Chris Billam-Smith 2
We’re not sure what Chris Billam-Smith’s contractual situation is but if he is a free agent, this would be a fantastic rematch to make. Their first encounter was very close and entertaining and a rematch between the two would have much more on the line as well as being a big domestic fight. Riakporhe has sold well at Wembley Arena considering he wasn’t previously a headliner but Riakporhe CBS 2 is a fight that can fill Wembley Arena out.
Bournemouth’s Billam-Smith does fight under the Matchroom/DAZN banner and if he is still under contract/ unwilling to leave his existing platform then obviously it would make the fight much harder to make. However, Riakporhe is a headline fighter for Sky and CBS an undercard one for DAZN so it could make sense for Matchroom to send Billam-Smith over to Sky and if he loses they have a big opponent for Okolie, if he wins they have beaten a marquee Sky Sports Boxing headliner.