Richard Riakporhe is ready to explode onto the world title scene after adding refined boxing skills to his ‘raw power’, says promoter Ben Shalom.
The cruiserweight knockout specialist returns to action against Olanrewaju Durodola at The SSE Arena, Wembley next Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
Riakporhe’s unusual trajectory has already taken him to an undefeated 12-0 record having won consecutive 50-50 fights against British rivals Sam Hyde, Tommy McCarthy, Chris Billam-Smith and Jack Massey.
“He only turned pro at 25, he took fights early and he bulldozed through the division,” BOXXER promoter Shalom told Sky Sports.
“He didn’t really box like he could. He was learning on the job.
“Now he’s with Angel Fernandez he is learning the craft. Before it was about his raw power.
“What makes him exciting is that he’s now learning how to box – if he can add that to his natural ability? This is why we are excited about him.
“He’s beaten them without much preparation.”
Riakporhe ended a two-year absence from the ring by winning an eight-round decision on his comeback, but will be thrown into a dangerous contest against Durodola, a 44-fight veteran who has faced current world champions Mairis Briedis and Ilunga Makabu.
“Under normal circumstances there would be no problem but Richard had been out of the ring for two years,” Shalom said.
“You saw that in his last fight, which was tough.
“But he’s 31 now and has dealt with the British scene. We made a commitment to him to take him to world level.
“Durodola has been in there with everyone, he has challenged for world titles, been in there with the very best.
“It’s a tough fight and I’ve told Richard to prepare for it. He’s only had six weeks [since his previous fight].
“This is a big fight for him, and it’s one that takes him onto the world scene.
“But it’s one that I think he will take care of.”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
November 20 – BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe vs Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut
Florian Marku vs Jorick Luisetto
Hosea Burton vs Dan Azeez – British light-heavyweight title
November 20 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter – WBO welterweight title
December 11 – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin
December 11 – Top Rank in New York
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
Jared Anderson vs Oleksandr Teslenko
Nico Ali Walsh
December 17 – Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles
February 26 – Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title