Richard Riakporhe says he is in no rush to continue the rate of his rapid rise after claiming the British cruiserweight title in only his eleventh professional fight.
The 29-year-old South Londoner won the vacant British title with a unanimous points decision over Jack Massey after a scrappy, mauling 12 rounds at York Hall, East London.
Riakporhe had his moments in the fight, notably in the third and eighth rounds where he rocked Massey. He was also credited with a knockdown in the tenth round by referee Phil Edwards, although his right cross seemed to miss and he in fact knocked Massey down with the inside of his forearm. Riakporhe was also lucky not to get at least one point taken away for persistent holding.
One judge, Bob Williams, scored is a crazily wide 117-111, while Howard Foster and Michael Alexander went closer with 115-113, meaning that had the knockdown not been counted (in a round Massey dominated for large parts) the result could have been different.
“I got the W, which is good, but I am going to look back and continue to work on my faults and see where it goes,” Riakporhe said as he put ice on a sore right hand.
“It got really tough in there. He took some of my best shots, I commend him. Me and Jack Massey have a got a good future, if he doesn’t get disheartened by the loss.”
Riakporhe was extending his unbeaten record to 11, stretching a good streak of results that saw him beat Sam Hyde, Tommy McCarthy and Chris Billam-Smith in the past 13 months.
A rematch with Billam-Smith, whom he beat by a split decision in July, would seem an obvious next match after Billam-Smith claimed the Commonwealth title last month. Riakporhe said he could look to win the Lonsdale Belt outright, which requires three successful defences.
“Keep continue getting my experience, maybe defend it once or twice, maybe look to win it outright,” he said.
“I did feel I had a chance of going all the way, that’s why I always spoke highly of myself. But it’s been tough. It is not as easy as it looks on TV.
“We are going to continue building. I have a great team with me – Mark Tibbs, Jimmy Tibbs, Dillian Whyte – I’m blessed. I will be better next time.”
Also on the York Hall bill, Craig Richards, who is due to face Shakan Pitters for the vacant British light-heavyweight title early next year, was disappointed to get only a draw from his eight-rounder with Chad Sugden.
Keiron Conway ground out a hard-fought points decision over Craig O’Brien in their super-welterweight ten-rounder, referee Lee Cook, the sole judge, scoring it 97-94, while Luther Clay was a unanimous points winner over Freddy Kiwitt in a welterweight ten, all three judges scoring it 97-93.