Matchroom Boxing’s JD NXTGEN series continues in Bethnal Green next month with a British title fight at the helm. Unbeaten cruiserweights Richard Riakporhe and Jack Massey headline in a clash for the vacant belt, while heavyweight prospect Fabio Wardley takes on Simon Vallily and Luther Clay attempts to continue his rise through the welterweight ranks at Freddy Kiwitt’s expense.
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The BBBofC recently ordered Riakporhe (10-0, 8 KO) vs. Massey (16-0, 8 KO) after Lawrence Okolie vacated the title; “One Smack” had signed to face Okolie earlier this year before withdrawing due to an arm injury. Riakporhe is coming off of a July split decision over Chris Billiam-Smith, the third second defense of his WBA trinket, while Massey will be fighting for the first time since March.
“I’m over the moon to be fighting for the British title at the top of a bill at York Hall,” said Riakporhe. “I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time and now it’s here I need to grab it with both hands.
“Jack is a decent opponent. I heard that he beat Chris Billam-Smith in the amateurs so he should have a good pedigree. He’s unbeaten in the professional ranks with a strong record so this should be a decent test for me.
“I think Jack will come to fight and he’ll go for it, but I’ll be too strong for him and I’ll have too much will and determination – I’m going to light him up like a Christmas tree. A win here could lead to even bigger opportunities and I know what I have to do.”
“I’m in the best shape of my life and I feel great,” said Massey. “I’ve had a few setbacks recently, but they’ve made me even hungrier for this opportunity. I’ve got to come away with that British title on the night and I’ll give my all for it.
“This has got the makings of a great fight, we’re both big punchers and we both know how to finish a fight. This will be my first time fighting at York Hall so it’s even more special for me. It’s a prestigious place to fight and a prestigious belt to win so there’s a lot on the line – a win would be massive for me.”
Picture me reading that “we’re both big punchers” line and turning to look at Massey’s 50% KO rate like Harvey Birdman.
Wardley (8-0, 7 KO) is still very much a work-in-progress, but will be taking a minor step up against Vallily (16-2-1, 7 KO). The latter, 10 years his opponent’s elder, fought Arfan Iqbal to a draw last year in a bid for Iqbal’s English cruiserweight title.
Clay (12-1, 5 KO) will be looking for his eighth straight win against Germany’s Kiwitt (17-2, 10 KO). Kiwitt’s two pro defeats came against still-unbeaten Akeem Ennis-Brown and Louis Greene, and “Pretty Boy” took a decision over Paddy Gallagher in February.
Also in action are Kieron Conway (13-1-1, 3 KO) and Shannon Courtenay (4-0. 1 KO), among others.