Ahead of Richard Riakporhe’s IBF cruiserweight title eliminator against Fabio Turchi, Johnny Nelson looks at comparisons between the Brit and Deontay Wilder and discusses what he wants to see from Riakporhe at the weekend.
Timing is everything for Richard and the challenges are getting that little bit higher, the stakes are getting that bit higher – and so is his confidence.
I keep saying it but at the moment, Richard does not have the confidence to match his ability, despite being 14-0. Once he gets to that point, you will not see a way of beating this kid.
People have suggested Richard is a cruiserweight Deontay Wilder but I think Richard is more cultured.
Wilder could depend wholeheartedly on his punch power. He could be losing a fight to the last second of the last round and then still be saved by his raw power.
Deontay was brute strength but technique-wise, I think Richard is better. His boxing IQ seems better.
Saturday’s fight will be a test for him. He is No 12 in the IBF rankings and he is fighting the No 11, so it means something to his development and where he stands in the division.
The loss to Tommy McCarthy is the only one of Turchi’s career, although he has fought a lot of guys with more losing records than winning ones.
Still, he is above Richard in the rankings so it will be a challenge, which I am looking forward to seeing.
I want to see Richard use his strength and subtlety. I don’t want him to hang about and say, ‘look, I can show you how well I can box’. I want him to get in and get out ASAP.
Yes, the development needs to be there and he needs to learn something from each fight but I don’t want him to be too smart, to outsmart himself or overthink.
He needs to use his power, which has got people excited.
With Ilunga Makabu potentially on the horizon for Richard, another southpaw in Turchi is good preparation.
Throwing things forward further, and a fight with WBO champion Lawrence Okolie is one to get us Brits excited. Among all the cruiserweights out there, these two have to be respected.
The only difference between the two at the moment is that Okolie has proved it, he is world champion. Richard has not had that opportunity yet but is definitely on the right path.
Speaking to Sky Sports about Turchi, Riakporhe said: “The way I assess it, he’s just another opponent I need to deal with in great fashion and we’re going for the knockout.
“He reminds me of a Mike Tyson. He’s always moving, he’s always throwing big shots, those loopy hands. He can be a bit dirty as well.
“He likes to use his head, so we’ll make sure we have a word with the referee so they know. I feel like once I detonate those bombs, he’s going to be out of there in no time.
“I think this is going to be the best performance of my career. I’m going to win a contest of punching power, if that’s what it becomes.”
Watch Richard Riakporhe vs Fabio Turchi live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Saturday.
Olympic gold medallist Lauren Price MBE will also make her professional debut on the card.