Walworth cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe, the WBA Inter-continental champion will meet Jack Massey for the vacant British title at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Wednesday 19th December. The show, promoted by Matchroom Boxing will be televised live by Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the USA.
For Chapel-en-le-Frith's Massey (16-0-0, 8 Ko's), this fight might be coming too early. That might seem strange considering that he has had 6 more professional outings than Riakporhe but he hasn't faced anyone near the quality or reputation of Riakporhe's recent opposition.
Wins over Sam Hyde, Tommy McCarthy, and Chris Billam-Smith in his last three outings have proved the advanced nature of Riakporhe's career status (10-0-0, 8 Ko's). It is rare to see a novice pro with so much self-belief at this stage, but when you hear Riakphore's life story you start to understand why he can be put into title contention at this early stage of his career.
Part of the South London street culture from a young age, Riakporhe was stabbed at the age of 15 and became acquainted and well-known to the local constabulary. He turned his life around and graduated from Kingston University with a BSc in Marketing and Communications in 2015.
A successful amateur career based at the famous Lynn ABC in Camberwell saw him win the coveted Haringey Cup and led to turning professional with heavyweight Dillan Whyte acting in the role of manager.
At 29-years-of-age the 6ft 5In Riakporhe has stated that he would like to win all the domestic titles before testing himself at world level. The title was vacated by Lawrence Okolie who Richard has much in common with apart from being very tall for the division. Okolie took the well-trodden British, Commonwealth, and European title route and is now on the cusp of a world title challenge, so Riakphore knows that this can happen for him if he keeps progressing.
Massey, known by the moniker "One Smack" won the vacant WBC Youth Silver cruiserweight title in his 9th pro bout with a stoppage win over Gogita Gorgiladze (3-8-0). His level of opposition has not altered much since and it is that lack of higher quality opponents that makes him a big underdog.
The 26-year-old Massey can take encouragement from Riakporhe's last bout against the unbeaten Billam-Smith. Taken to a split decision, the Walworth man did not look at his best or a world-beater to be. It is possible that with the right game plan, the Derbyshire boxer can take Riakporhe to the final bell and hope for a positive outcome.
As stated thousands of times before, boxing is about levels and I think Massey will learn his on the 19th December.
Prediction: Riakporhe to win by stoppage in the championship rounds (10, 11, 12).