Craig ‘Spider’ Richards believes he is on a different level to champion Shakan Pitters ahead of their British 175lbs title clash at the Fly By Nite Rehearsal Studios in Redditch on December 18.
Needle has escalated into animosity before the domestic title bout with both rivals deriding the other’s ability and achievements.
Birmingham’s 6ft 6ins Pitters recently labelled Richards a blown-up super-middle who cracks under pressure, but the challenger sees things rather differently.
“I’d known Shakan for a while and everything was always cool. Then, from nowhere, as we both progressed, Shak started bad mouthing me on social, saying weird stuff that I was scared, ducking him….please!” said Richards.
“Shakan’s a clown. I saw him dropped by a real journeyman [Czech Jiri Svacina] earlier in his career. And he’s not dangerous, ain’t stopped anyone who wasn’t stopped about 20 times previously.
“I don’t really care about him. Listen, in the past, they’ve all called me out. They all say a lot of things before the bell rings. Jake Ball was taller. He’d been at Team GB. No way could I outbox him. He had quicker hands, quicker feet……he was smashed in three!
“After I expose Pitters, he’ll have to go back to the drawing board just like all the others did. Afterwards, they all say: ‘I didn’t realise you were so strong, didn’t know you hit so hard’. Shak’s in for a serious reality check.
“Look, he’s ‘half’ decent. Half. He relies on his height and keeps running but there’s a lot of flaws. Everything he does is simple, basic, nothing I’ve not seen or faced before. There’s nothing unique about him. I’ve tall sparring partners who are exactly the same.
“Him coming down from cruiser and me coming up from super-middle will work against him. I’m the more natural light-heavy. I’ll have more energy. Besides, I mostly spar decent cruisers and always walk them down.
“Shakan was hurt several times during his English title win with Dec Spelman. Unlike Pitters, I’ve been an underdog. I’ve been out of my depth. There’s a lot he’s still not been through. I know how to handle a crisis. He doesn’t.
“Look, I’ve been the co-main event before 10,000 at the O2 and won. I’ve boxed on AJ undercards, Golovkin undercards. Big fights, real pressure. Been there, done it. There’s multiple factors as to why I beat him.
“I’ll not chase a stoppage but if the opportunity presents, I’ll get him out of there. I definitely have the artillery. I’m different calibre altogether!”
Pitters-Richards will be televised live in the UK on Channel 5.