The Friday Faceup

Richard Riakporhe (left) and Fabio Turchi
(Photo: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

Tomorrow at London’s Wembley Arena world ranked cruiserweight Richard ‘The Midnight Train’ Riakporhe takes to the rails again when he faces Italian Fabio Turchi in an international contest.

The 32 year old Riakporhe (14-0, 10 KO’s) is on a fast track to challenge for a world title after impressive victories against Olanrewaju Durodola and Deion Juma at the same venue in the last seven months. The big punching Londoner has entered the top ten of the IBF world rankings and tomorrow’s contest is billed as an official eliminator for their title held by Latvian kingpin Mairis Briedis.

The supremely conditioned 6 foot 5 Riakporhe said in yesterday’s final press conference “The fight is perfect for me because it sets us up for a big world title clash in my next fight, so there’s a lot to fight for”. He continued “We aren’t taking Fabio Turchi lightly, we made sure we covered all areas in training…we want to deliver on Saturday night”.

Turchi (20-1, 14 KO’s), at aged 24, is a good test having fought in respectable company and possesses solid knockout power. However, he’ll be giving away significant height and reach to the Londoner who in recent fights has shown to be very heavy handed. We expect Riakporhe to get his man out of there by the sixth round in spectacular fashion.

The BOXXER promotion also sees Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist Lauren Price MBE make her professional debut on the undercard. Much is expected of the charismatic Welsh lass after a sensational victory in Japan when she was very much in the public eye. She is sure to impress again in her first paid contest.

Welterweight Chris Kongo faces a test against German Sebastien Formella who has gone the distance recently against Conor Benn and Shawn Porter. Kongo, from Bermondsey, south London will be looking to cash in by adding Formella’s name to his record. Potentially this is the contest of the night and we expect Kongo to win a tight twelve rounder on points.

The card also features Londoner’s Zak Chelli (11-1-1, 6 KO’s) and Germaine Brown (12-0, 3 KO’s) facing each other at super-middleweight for the English title. Last but not least, undefeated Viddal Riley and Joe Pigford also feature.

The card will be televised on Sky Sports in the UK from 7pm.

Stateside Saturday in Miami, Florida, Daniel Dubois challenges Trevor Bryan for a version of the WBA heavyweight title. The 24 year old Londoner (17-1, 16 KO’s) has rebuilt slowly after a career halting stoppage by Joe Joyce in the British showdown in late 2020. Since then he’s recorded two knockout wins against Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano, the latter in the US.

American, Bryan (22-0, 15 KO’s) is making the second defence of his title won against Bermane Stiverne in January 2021. Despite being age 34 the only name of note on his record is the now shopworn Stiverne.

The outcome of this will largely depend on whether Dubois has fully recovered from the Joyce defeat; physically (after his orbital bone fracture), and psychologically, in losing for the first time when last stepping up. Bryan is limited, but as an undefeated champion is to be respected. We expect Dubois’ power to be the telling factor and him to continue his rebuild by stopping the American in the fifth.

The event is noted for being promoted by the legendary Don King and is being televised by BT Sport in the UK. Ring entrances are expected around 11:30pm.

Enjoy your fight weekend.

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