This Thursday from London’s York Hall, streaming live on DAZN in the US and airing on Sky Sports in the UK, the vacant British cruiserweight title will be on the line between unbeaten prospects Richard Riakporhe and Jack Massey.
Riakporhe (10-0, 8 KO) has been the more hyped prospect of the two. The 29-year-old from London is a 6’5” power puncher who proved he can go a tough 10 last time out, beating Chris Billam-Smith via narrow split decision. Despite the fact the fight was close — and easily could have gone the other way — it might have been more encouraging for Riakporhe than some think, and Riakporhe is looking to end 2019 strong.
“I’m feeling good. I’m happy with the opportunities that I’ve received this year, stepping up to the plate,” he said. “I fought Tommy McCarthy back in March, got the win. I fought Chris Billam-Smith not too long ago and got the win as well. What would end the year perfectly for me would be getting the win over Jack Massey with the British title as well. What more could I want?”
He says he’s definitely not looking past the 26-year-old Massey, however, even though there is talk of moving Riakporhe quickly up the cruiserweight ladder. He is, however, predicting an early finish.
“There’s a lot of big fights out there for me in 2020 but we’re not going to overlook Jack Massey. We’ve prepared for him like he’s a true veteran and we’re ready to take the win and get on with it. I don’t see the fight going longer than six rounds. I don’t see it going past six rounds but I’ve trained for 15 rounds.”
Massey (16-0, 8 KO) has built his record on small hall shows, largely, and even when he’s been featured in big arenas, he was facing small hall-type opposition. He was set for a big step up against Lawrence Okolie this summer, but was injured in camp and the fight was scrapped.
“We had a long camp for the Okolie fight,” he said. “We trained for 12 rounds so it’s put me in good stead for this. The recovery time for the injury wasn’t long so I was back punching six weeks after the injury, so it’s time to go.”
He agrees with Riakporhe that the fight won’t be going the distance.
“It’s a massive year after this. I don’t see it going more than six rounds either,” Massey said. “He’s confident, get ready for a boxing match.”
Riakporhe says he’ll have no trouble boxing if that’s Massey’s plan.
“We’re ready for whatever,” Riakporhe stated. “If Jack wants to box I can box, if he wants to fight I can fight. I believe that I can beat him in every single department. If he wants to have a cookout and see who’s the best chef, then I’ll beat him in a Sunday roast cookout. If I lose in that, I’ll put him in the oven.”