Richard Riakporhe on Lawrence Okolie: ‘He came into my space. I felt disrespected to say the least’ | Boxing News
Richard Riakporhe, fast approaching his own title shot, has a message for all the cruiserweight world champions.
“I believe that I’m one of the most dangerous fighters in the world so I don’t blame them for ducking and diving me,” Riakporhe told Sky Sports News.
Highly ranked with the world championship sanctioning bodies after beating Krzysztof Glowacki in January, a title shot for Riakporhe is looking inevitable.
He has already had a collision with WBO champion Lawrence Okolie. The two had to be separated after an altercation at the Creed III premiere in London.
Okolie previously told Sky Sports: “He saw red, he pushed me, and it turned into a whole ruckus.”
Riakporhe acknowledge that Okolie provoked him. “I just saw someone come up behind me, just come into my space, so I just felt pretty threatened. I felt disrespected to say the least. One thing led to another, pushing and shoving and a few hugs and we just got separated,” Riakporhe said.
Both are Londoners, both cruiserweight rivals but Riakporhe doesn’t want to exchange blows with Okolie until they’re actually boxing for at least one world title.
“Hopefully if I don’t feel threatened or disrespected then it’ll be perfectly fine and cordial [if they meet again],” he said.
“But one thing I’ll say, I’ll do my best not to throw any punches outside the ring and I haven’t done it for over 10 years so I don’t think that will happen.”
Okolie isn’t Riakporhe’s only British rival. He has previously beaten Chris Billam-Smith but since then the Bournemouth man has gone on to win British, Commonwealth and European titles and has been rocketing up the world rankings himself.
Riakporhe would welcome a rematch with Billam-Smith. “Absolutely. I think Chris Billam-Smith has come on leaps and bounds. He’s put on great performances, got stoppages over proper fighters, decent let’s say top 20 fighters in the world,” he said.
“So I’d definitely give him the opportunity to avenge his loss against me. I believe that it’s going to be the same result.”
But as soon as he saw Badou Jack upset Ilunga Makabu on Sunday to win the WBC cruiserweight title, Riakporhe took to social media to call him out.
“As I predicted there’s been no response whatsoever,” Riakporhe said.
“I have more power. I may be slightly faster, more explosive, more athletic. I believe I’m intelligent. I’ve got great defence. I’ve got everything.
“I’ve got all the attributes. I’ve got the mindset. I live the life. There’s nothing that could stop me. I just believe that I’m that guy. If they think otherwise, they can prove me wrong.
He added: “He performed excellently, I didn’t really see any deterioration from him. But I saw some gaps in his previous fights prior to this one.
“It just shows how good of a champion he is. He improved really well. He put on a great performance for this last fight against Makabu so I have no faults to say about him.
“I just believe that I’ve got what it takes to become a champion.”
Lawrence Okolie fights David Light on March 25 live on Sky Sports. Watch Sky Sports via NOW