Richards: Win over De Carolis takes me to world level

Lerrone Richards believes a victory over former WBA belt holder Giovanni De Carolis will elevate him to world level, ahead of their vacant European super-middleweight title fight at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday.

South Londoner Richards, who is trained by Dave Coldwell, joined Matchroom Boxing last year and got off the mark with a clear points decision over Timo Laine at Wembley. The former British and Commonwealth champion is now aiming for the pinnacle of the 168lbs class with Italian battler De Carolis providing a decent measure of his standing in the bustling super-middleweight division, led by Mexican king Canelo Alvarez.

“The European title is a belt that I have always wanted,” said southpaw Richards (14-0, 3 KOs). “I have always wanted to achieve things and do things the traditional way – British, Commonwealth and now European. Once I’ve won this title then we’ll start looking above, but my main focus in on the European title. I can’t wait to get in the ring and showcase my skills.

“I know that Giovanni De Carolis is a former WBA Regular world champion. He’s strong, he can box a bit and fight a bit. He can punch a little bit. It’s a good test for me. He’s very experienced as well. It’s not an easy fight – it will be a tough fight but it’s a fight that I know I am capable of winning and winning well.

“I just focus on what I do. Whatever happens on the night, happens. You’ve got to be able to adjust in the ring and I’m very good at doing that. When it comes to fighting opponents, I do what it takes to win the easiest way possible. If I have to walk someone down for 12 rounds, trust me I’ll do that. If I have to box on the back foot, pop and move to make the fight easier, then I’ll do that.

“I’ve just been solely focused on this fight. Winning this title does bring a lot more opportunities for me. I can officially say I’m a world level contender after this fight. I’ll be in a position for bigger fights, which I’m very excited for. With my career I’ve always believed in stepping up. Stepping up the opposition and stepping up the levels in terms of belts. I’m going to continue doing so until I retire.

“When it comes to skillset, trust me, I’m on a higher level. You can ask a lot of these world class fighters that I’ve sparred with. They’ll tell you the same thing. With me now, it’s about gaining experience and learning at every level. When I earn my opportunity at the world level, I’ll be able to showcase my abilities and get the win.”

Main image: Matchroom Boxing.