Watch The Fight Live On Sky Sports https://buff.ly/3xjIbCN
Boxxer return this Saturday night with yet another stellar show on British shores. Cruiserweight kingpin, Richard Riakporhe, faces a tough test in Fabio Turchi in the main event on Saturday night, with the winner surely setting their sights on a world title challenge within the next 12 months.
Riakporhe has his sights set on world title glory in the next year (Photo: Sky Sports)
On paper, Turchi could provide a lot of problems for Riakporhe. For a start, the 28-year-old is a southpaw. No matter what anyone says about fighting southpaws and the challenges they pose, nobody prefers fighting a southpaw to an orthodox fighter.
Flip this 180 degrees and if you ask a southpaw who they’d prefer to fight, the vast majority would say an orthodox fighter. Southpaw’s are used to facing orthodox opponents as 9/10 times a fighter leads with his left hand, meaning boxing out of the southpaw stance is more awards and tricky for an orthodox fighter than it is for a southpaw.
If this fight had have been made three years ago, it’s fair to say it would probably have been more evenly matched than what the majority of boxing fans have it at this moment in time. Whether it is British fight fans supporting their own and dismissing others, or whether it is just that the skillset of Riakporhe is far superior to that of Turchi, most boxing fans think this should be a relatively straight forward fight for Richard Riakporhe.
Riakporhe has gone about his business astutely since turning professional back in 2016. In just his eighth fight, Riakporhe was thrown right in at the deep end in what was on paper a 50/50 matchup with Sam Hyde. In the end, the 32-year-old proved too big, too strong and too powerful for Hyde, forcing an eighth round stoppage and picking up the WBA Inter-Continental title in the process.
After that, Riakporhe’s career really began to gather momentum. His next three opponents had a combined record of 38-1, with two boasting impressive undefeated records. After the Hyde fight, Riakporhe wasted no time in trying to climb the domestic ladder by facing Ireland’s Tommy McCarthy. Although ‘Mac Attack’ isn’t necessarily a domestic rival, he had fought his own fair share of British opponents and was another big step up for Riakporhe in his ever progressing professional career.
It’s fair to say that the London man most definitely rose to the occasion. Riakporhe took just four rounds to dismantle McCarthy, landing blow after blow and eventually halting the Belfast fighter in the fourth round after some concussive knockdowns. A career best performance from Riakporhe put the British boxing scene on notice, and boy did he deliver yet again.
Riakporhe celebrates his win over British rival, Jack Massey (Photo: South London Press)
Next up for Riakporhe was current Commonwealth and European cruiserweight champion, Chris Billam-Smith. Again, like he had done in his two fights previous, Riakporhe yet again stepped up to the plate and won a tight split decision against the Bournemouth man. That fight was by far and away the toughest of Riakporhe’s career, and a fight that stood him in good stead for whatever was to come.
Yet another undefeated fighter follow, as Riakporhe took on Jack Massey for the vacant British title in what was deemed a real ‘pick‘em’ contest. Yet again, Riakporhe rose to the occasion and lifted the famous Lonsdale belt above his head after a unanimous decision victory over his British rival.
Since then, it is fair to say that Riakporhe’s career has stalled ever so slightly. The breakout of COVID-19 didn’t help anyone, but Riakporhe seemed to particularly suffer, just as he looked like he was destined for European and World level fights in the not so distant future.
Last time out, Riakporhe won yet another British grudge match, defeating Deion Jumah in March of this year. Riakporhe looked more seasoned, more well rounded and looked like a more complete fighter. Another performance like that this weekend from the big British cruiserweight star and he could see his name in line challenging for world honours sooner rather than later.
In the opposite corner, you have Fabio Turchi. Italy’s number one cruiserweight looked to be accelerating to European and even World level up until he ran into Tommy McCarthy back in October 2019. Turchi was a heavy favourite for that fight, but McCarthy came to Italy with the perfect game plan and was put a dent in any short term aspiration of fighting for titles for ‘Stone Crusher’.
This is one major comparison you can draw between the pair. Both Turchi and Riakporhe have faced the Irishman, and their respective fights couldn’t have played out any differently. McCarthy frustrated Turchi, picking up rounds by using his superior footwork and accumulating a lot of scoring punches, especially the jab.
However, with Riakporhe vs McCarthy, the Belfast man looked out of his depth. Riakporhe held centre ring, landing heavy blows to the body and head of McCarthy before halting him inside four rounds. Comparing the two respective fights against McCarthy is like chalk and cheese, but this is the fight game and it only takes one punch to change everything.
In his 17 fights prior to fighting Tommy McCarthy, Turchi looked like a man possessed. The 28-year-old was running through opponents like they weren’t even there. The 6”2 southpaw had a record of 17-0 with 13 stoppage victories before that fight, but the loss has seemed to take his best asset away now.
Turchi will be looking to upset the apple cart on Saturday night (Photo: StampToscana)
Turchi in recent fights has looked more shy and reluctant to throw his big shots, possibly being too wary of what is coming back the other way and forgetting his bread and butter. Throwing heavy leather and putting it on his opponents.
If Turchi is to have any chance in this fight with Riakporhe on Saturday night from Wembley Arena, he must take the fight to Riakporhe and gamble more than he has done in his past couple of fights. That being said, he still carries a big punch and is a risky fight for Riakporhe.
Both men will feel that a win on Saturday night catapults them to world title challenging contention, with Riakporhe looking to become the next big breakout cruiserweight star from the UK behind current WBO world champion, Lawrence Okolie.
This highly anticipated cruiserweight matchup is one not to be missed, with both men going in search of a statement victory over the other. A win for either man could see a potential fight with Chris Billam-Smith made before the end of the year, with the winner of that surely throwing their name in the hat for a world title shot in 2023.
Riakporhe will believe he can stop Turchi and then beat ‘CBS’ again in a rematch, winning the Commonwealth and European titles at 200-pounds, before stepping up and challenging for world honours in the new year.
Big things are on the horizon for Richard Riakporhe, but first he must get past the tough, durable, powerful and awkward Fabio Turchi. Do not miss this fight!
Richard Riakporhe (14-0, 10 KOs)
Deion Jumah – WIN – KO Round 8
Olanrewaju Durodola – WIN – TKO Round 5
Krzysztof Twardowski – WIN – PTS (79-72)
Jack Massey – WIN – UD (115-113, 115-113, 117-111)
Fabio Turchi (20-1, 14 KOs)
Vukasin Obradovic – WIN – TKO Round 1
Dylan Bregeon – WIN – UD (115-113, 115-113, 115-113)
Nikoljas Grisunins – WIN – UD (98-92, 99-91, 100-90)
Tommy McCarthy – LOSS – SD (113-115, 116-112, 112-116)
Date: June 11th 2022
Time: Approx. 10.30 Ring Walk (GMT)
Venue: Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, England, UK
Promotor: Boxxer (live on Sky Sports)
Official Fight Night Poster (Photo: @boxxer on Twitter)
Elsewhere on the card, Germaine Brown and Zak Chelli clash for the English super-middleweight title, Chris Kongo faces Sebastian Formella in a welterweight contest, cruiserweight Viddal Riley returns and super-welterweight prospect Joe Pigford also features on the undercard. Tokyo 2022 Olympic gold medallist, Lauren Price, also makes her professional debut in the women’s middleweight division.
Watch The Fight Live On Sky Sports https://buff.ly/3xjIbCN