Home Boxing News Richard Riakporhe welcomes the news Oleksandr Usyk could return to the cruiserweight...

Richard Riakporhe welcomes the news Oleksandr Usyk could return to the cruiserweight division

Richard Riakporhe

Cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe 17-0 (13) hopes to be holding one of the four major world championship bout when former undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk 22-0 (14) returns to the division.

The 34-year-old Londoner will have his first crack at a world title when he takes on WBO champion Chris Billam-Smith 19-1 (13) at Selhurst Park Football Ground in Crystal Palace, England on Saturday night. Riakporhe is the only man to defeat Billam-Smith.

Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 37, left the division five years ago to campaign at heavyweight, where he now reigns as undisputed champion after defeating Tyson Fury 34-1-1 (24) on points last month.

Usyk has signed on for a rematch with England’s Fury, 35, in December, but in an interview last week flagged a possible return to the 200-pound weight class next year.

“I think maybe after the rematch, I am going to go down in weight to cruiserweight. I want more cruiserweight,” Usyk said on the 3 Knockdown Rule podcast.

“Maybe I can be undisputed for a second time in the cruiserweight division, it’s my plan. When I start to prepare for my training camp [as a heavyweight], I have to eat all the time. For me it’s hard, I don’t like it.”

The news came as music to Riakporhe’s ears.

“To be able to share a ring with such a legend like that, that’s a special thing – something I can look back and tell my family and friends ‘I shared a ring with this guy’,” Riakporhe told Sky Sports.

“I see myself as a legend as well, having to overcome all of the adversity to get to where I am now. It’s like a legend versus a legend – that’s beautiful.

“He’s not a big heavyweight, he doesn’t have a lot of muscle. I’ve seen people like Roy Jones try to go up to heavyweight and come back down.

“But the way he bulked up and put so much muscle on, I think it became a bit dangerous because he’s losing power and punch resistance too, that’s why it’s not really too good to move up and down the weights like that.

“But Usyk isn’t a big heavyweight, so we’ll see if he wants to do that. I think what they’ll be telling him is to move down gradually – maybe bridgerweight then cruiserweight – but anything is possible when you put your mind to it and he has a great team to be able to guide him to do it professionally.

“I think it’s definitely possible and I think it would be great – I would love to have that fight.”

Riakporhe added that the Usyk news has only motivated him further to defeat old rival Billam-Smith.

“That’s even more motivation [to beat Chris Billam-Smith]. I want to mix it with the biggest names in the division and there is a big opportunity for me right now,” said Riakporhe, who is predicting a stoppage victory.

“I’ve put extra pressure on myself and I think it’s a really good time for me and everyone as boxers really. But it’s really a a special time for me at cruiserweight.”