World ranked cruiserweight Richard ‘The Midnight Train’ Riakporhe took a big step towards securing a title shot when he railroaded Italian opponent Fabio Turchi at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
The contest, headlining a BOXXER promotion and live on Sky Sports, had a tentative start with the British fighter poking out his jab, moving and sizing up his opponent for the first four plus minutes. The tall Riakporhe then unleashed a devastating left hook to Turchi’s midriff that forced the Italian to land and roll on the canvas writhing in agony.
Before Riakphore (15-0, 11 KO’s) landed the telling blow it felt like we were waiting for a bomb to go off as the Londoner pawed away with the crowd transfixed, knowing the power he possessed, as he lined up the jab trying to set up the combination to finish the contest. In the end it was one leading shot that did the damage; a sickening body blow. The Italian dragged himself to his feet on the nine count, but referee Steve Gray waved it off as Turchi’s cornermen raided the ring and threw the towel in.
The win elevates Riakphore to a #2 world ranking with the IBF and places him in pole position for a shot at Ring magazine champion Maris Briedis.
Turchi (20-2, 14 KO’s), was expected to put up a stern test but in the end it was a walkover.
The promotion also featured the debut of Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Lauren Price MBE and a host of excellent contests.
Wales’ Price got in a good six rounds against tough Valgerdur Gudstensdottir. Despite her opponents name being 30 points in the board game Scrabble, the Icelander was just what Price needed on debut. The Olympic champion was allowed to move through the gears over the six two minute rounds and show her full array of skills, most notably the blinding hand speed that will be a feature in the paid ranks. The journey to championship level is up and running and going to be an exciting one with the blond southpaw.
Also on the card were excellent wins for Zak Chelli (12-1-1, 6 KO’s) capturing the English super-middleweight title in a highly competitive contest with Germaine Brown, Viddal Riley (13-7, 3 KO’s) smoked Jone Volau with a stunning first round knockout at cruiserweight and Chris Kongo (14-1, 7 KO’s) gained the WBC silver title at welterweight with a unanimous points victory over tough Sebastian Formella.
In the US, ‘Dynamite’ Daniel Dubois (18-1, 17 KO’s) scored a spectacular fourth round knockout over American Trevor Bryan to win the WBA heavyweight title. It was thought the 24 year old Londoner would have trouble fighting in the champion’s country, especially on a Don King promotion, but Dubois overcame this disadvantage with a big one shot blowout. Whilst it won’t resonate amongst the elite heavyweights, given Bryan’s limitations, it does get the power punching Dubois back in the heavyweight reckoning and at his youthful age there is much more to come.