Richard Riakporhe exclusive: 'I always imagined myself boxing against my idol Muhammad Ali'

  • Tom Ward
Richard Riakporhe aims to 'create a legacy' for himself as he bids to get his career back on track

Richard Riakporhe is hoping to ‘create a legacy’ for himself and ‘inspire the next generation’ as he prepares to make his boxing comeback after two years away from the ring.

The former British cruiserweight champion will take on Polish pro boxer Krzysztof Twardowski in his warm up fight on the undercard to Chris Eubank Jr‘s fight with Sven Elbir on October 2 in London.

Speaking at the launch of a new partnership between Sky Sports and promoters BOXXER and Top Rank, Riakporhe exclusively revealed to GIVEMESPORT that he will eventually end up at heavyweight, but the move could be a couple of years away at the very least. 

Asked about the prospect of a future move up to 200+ pounds, he said: “Of course I want to go to heavyweight.

“I always imagined myself boxing against my idol, Muhammad Ali.

“I want to become heavyweight champion of the world one day, just like him.

“That would be amazing. That’s one of my goals. It’s an iconic division.

“And you have to bear in mind they were pretty much boxing at cruiserweight at that time with just a little bit over 207 pounds.

“Ken Norton, he’s around the same as me, these guys were small, even if we go back to Rocky Marciano, they were much lighter heavyweights, not light heavyweights, but you get what I mean.

Richard Riakporhe is unbeaten in eleven fights

“We’re talking about Jack Dempsey, he was tiny, he was smashing over big men, big, big men, and he was a special fighter himself.

“Even if you want to talk about Joe Lewis, Joe Lewis was a big cruiserweight, slightly heavier than me. 

“I’m sitting at – if I’m walking around – 100kg, six foot five, massive frame. There’s no fat on my body.

“I’m not coming to the ring overweight. You can see I’m shaped like an Adonis.

“I take this sport seriously and I’m here to entertain, I understand this business, it’s all about entertainment. 

“That’s what I believe – it’s all about entertainment, it’s all about giving the fans what they want, and that’s quality boxing.”

Richard Riakporhe beat Chris Billam-Smith by split decision

Before he can even begin to contemplate such a move however, Riakporhe has unfinished business in the cruiserweight division, namely with Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith. 

Riakporhe, who holds a split decision win over Billam-Smith, has also questioned whether his rivals have the same desire to compete at the top level. 

The former WBA Inter-Continental champion said this of his potential future opponents: “They need to be thinking about how they can match up against me, trust me, because it’s only going to be a matter of time before people understand what I’m talking about.

“I believe in my mind I’m the best, I don’t care who’s got the titles and this and that, that don’t mean nothing, it’s titles at the end of the day. 

“But once we get in the ring, and once you really analyse everything, analyse where I come from, boxing on small shows, then you can begin to really understand where I come from.”

Richard Riakporhe celebrates after beating Chris Billam-Smith

He also reflected on the adversity he faced at the start of his career: “I had to run around selling tickets myself and I remember when fights got cancelled I had to run around and refund people. 

“They don’t understand what you have to do to be able to go through something like that.

“I just don’t believe a lot of other fighters would be able to deal with something like that mentally.

“That just puts me on another level.

“I know I’m the best, irrespective of the fact that I’m blessed with power, it’s just all those little qualities that separate me from the rest.

“I believe I’m cut from a different cloth. I’m here to conquer, I ain’t here to make up no numbers, I ain’t here for the fame. I actually do not care about any of that stuff.

“I’m just here to create a legacy for myself and inspire the next generation coming up.”

Chris Eubank Jr vs. Sven Elbir will air live and exclusively on Sky Sports, with tickets available to purchase via boxxer.com/tickets.

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