Undefeated British cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe continues his campaign towards world honours on Saturday night with a Wembley Arena showdown against Italian Fabio Turchi.
Riakporhe (14-0, 10 KOs) has always possessed vast potential, but his career stalled in 2019 due to injury and management issues after he beat Jack Massey to become British champion and he was subsequently absent from the ring for nearly two years.
However, the south Londoner inked a promotional deal with Sky Sports and Boxxer last autumn and has since succeeded in resurrecting his career in impressive fashion, expertly and sensibly guided by his new promoters. The Turchi fight will be Riakporhe’s fourth contest in nine months, a level of activity that other fighters would be well advised to emulate.
But then Riakporhe has always demonstrated a refreshing willingness to test himself and take on as many of his rivals as possible. The 32-year-old from Walworth has fought and beaten three of Boxing Social’s current British cruiserweight top five – Chris Billam-Smith, Jack Massey and Tommy McCarthy – with only Lawrence Okolie missing from his CV. (By way of contrast, Conor Benn is ranked the number one welter in the UK right now and has fought no one from the British top ten).
Since signing with Boxxer, Riakporhe has also fought a decent level of opposition, including admittedly faded former world title challenger Olanrewaju Durodola and the talented and then undefeated London rival Deion Jumah (now ranked eighth in the UK by Boxing Social). Riakporhe stopped both men, demonstrating his power, improved jab and increasing ability to adapt.
In Turchi (20-1, 14 KOs) he now faces his second successive southpaw – good preparation if a rumoured showdown with WBC title holder Ilunga Makubu can be brokered (Riakporhe is currently seventh in the WBC’s cruiserweight rankings).
“The way I assess it, he’s just another opponent I need to deal with in great fashion and we’re going for the knockout,” is the south Londoner’s take on the contest.
“He [Turchi] reminds me of a Mike Tyson. He’s always moving, he’s always throwing big shots, those loopy hands. He can be a bit dirty as well. He likes to use his head, so we’ll make sure we have a word with the referee so they know.
“I feel like once I detonate those bombs, he’s going to be out of there in no time. I think this is going to be the best performance of my career. I’m going to win a contest of punching power, if that’s what it becomes.”
At 6’5” and with a 77” reach Riakporhe possesses all the physical advantages in this fight (Turchi is 6’2” and his reach is just 70”). He has also mixed in far better class – the Italian’s toughest opponent to date undoubtedly being Tommy McCarthy who edged him via a split decision in October 2019. In contrast, Riakporhe disposed of McCarthy in four rounds seven months before Turchi tangled with the Irishman.
Riakporhe has been knocked to the canvas before – heavily too, by the lightly regarded Adam Williams back in 2018 – so we cannot discount the prospect of an upset reverse. However, I fully expect him to gradually get the measure of the rugged Turchi by the midway point of this fight, having possibly been outworked at times early on, and then to stop the Italian sometime in the second half of the fight.
Read Boxing Social’s article to find out how to watch, start time, and Riakporhe Vs Turchi full fight card.