No cruiserweight fighter wants to go up against Richard Riakporhe’s deadly one-punch power, believes BOXXER CEO Ben Shalom.
The Londoner continued his world title rush on Saturday with a devastating second-round stop by Italy’s Fabio Turchi, ending his IBF eliminator with a left hook to his opponent’s body.
It extended Riakporhe’s perfect record to 15-0 and put his rivals on the alert as he eyes a shot at one of the belts later that year.
“He’s an incredible specimen, that was his left hand, imagine when his right hand connects,” Shalom said. “I really don’t think anyone wants to get in the ring with Richard Riakporhe, ask anyone who has trained with him.
“I was recently asked, ‘Who is the biggest puncher you’ve ever seen?’ and I said Richard Riakporhe, people laughed, this guy is the biggest puncher I’ve ever seen.
Potential players lying in wait include IBF Champion Mairis Briedis, WBC Champion Ilunga Makabu and WBA Champion Arsen Goulamirian, while Riakporhe and Shalom are also eyeing a possible all-British duel with WBO holder Lawrence Okolie.
“Next, Makabu, Briedis, Goulamirian, he takes them all. I know Richard wants[Okolie]more than anything,” Shalom said.
“He’s a superstar, we want to see him develop properly, we want to see him take it to a higher level. I’m just so happy for him and I hope people show him respect.
“I think he can fight for a world title this year, it will come down when Angel (Fernandez), Robert Garcia and Richard feel like they are ready, for me he can.
“Richard Riakporhe will be a world champion, whether in the next fight or the one after that, 100 percent.”
Riakporhe: Champions ducked and dived me
Speak with Sky Sports The day after his win over Turchi, Riakporhe said the cruiserweight champions “dumped and dunked” him and believes a fight with Lawrence Okolie would be the “biggest” in the division.
When asked if his win sent a message to other fighters, Riakporhe said, “Yes it did and if not it would be very confusing. You know I’m a threat.
“All the other champions ducked and dunked me because they know it’s a very risky fight. You have to make sure they get a big reward. Me, Boxxer, Sky Sports – we’re ready to make it happen.”
The 32-year-old says he’s ready to fight any champion willing to step up.
“I don’t mind – any champion,” he said. “I just want to get my hands on one of these belts and everyone has complete confidence and faith in myself and also in myself that I would get one of these belts. It doesn’t matter – every single champion poses a threat.”
Riakporhe said there could be a fight with Okolie next year but “politics” could make things difficult.
“I think the fans are going to love that,” he said. “I think this is the biggest cruiserweight fight right now – me vs. Lawrence Okolie. I think that might happen next year, but we’ll see.
“I think Okolie wants to unify and then maybe he wants to move up to heavyweight so it all depends.
“There’s a lot of politics in boxing unfortunately and it’s just about making sure all parties are happy, but I’m ready and I’m sure he’s ready. I think we can do it.”
Nelson Warns World Champion: “Fight Him Now!”
Sky Sports’ Johnny Nelson issued a stern warning to Riakporhe’s cruiserweight rivals to take on him now or risk an even better, more confident and accomplished version of The Midnight Train later.
“The way he talks, the way he walks, the way he fights, I believe in that now,” Nelson said. “I said before that I don’t think he has the confidence to match his ability.
“Since the press conference, I’ve been thinking ‘he speaks differently’. Now he believes in what he can do. He’s developed an edge about himself where I like what I see.
“The champions out there need to get him now instead of two or three fights down the line because this kid is going to be unbeatable.
“Actually I’d say Briedis on Makabu, Makabu is cunning, yes he’s beatable, but I think he’ll get more credit for getting rid of someone like Briedis and he’ll beat him, I know he beats him becomes.”