Richard Riakporhe is a victory over Fabio Turchi away from a world title shot and has WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu in his sights, says BOXXER CEO Ben Shalom. 

The Midnight Train puts his 14-0 record and title aspirations on the line once again next month as he takes on Italy’s Turchi at Wembley Arena, live on Sky Sports.

It follows another showcase of the Brit’s destructive power as he stopped Deion Jumah with a vicious body shot in the eighth round of their March match-up.

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The experienced Turchi meanwhile arrives 20-1 having reeled off three successive wins since his points defeat to Britain’s Tommy McCarthy in October 2019.

“We’re very close [to a world title]. We promised him, he was the first fighter to join, that ‘we’re going to get you that world title’,” Shalom told Sky Sports.

“He’s stepped up every time, he did really well against Deion Jumah.

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Riakporhe is back at Wembley on June 11th for a world title eliminator against Fabio Turchi

“Now he’s fighting Turchi who will look to nullify the power we know Richard fights with, it’s going to be an intriguing fight. If he comes through that a world title fight will 100 per cent be next.

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“There are three options for him. We like the Makabu fight, we think that’s a perfect fight for Richard, a lot of other cruiserweights do as well.

“We think he’s ready, he’s 32 years old now, he’s going to be taking on Turchi. If he comes through that then we want to see that.

“Then we’ll hopefully have two cruiserweight world champions [alongside Lawrence Okolie] in this country and it’s a great time for the cruiserweight division.”

Makabu currently holds a record of 29-2 after clinching a split decision win over Thabiso Mchunu to retain his title in January this year, with his last defeat coming by way of third-round knockout against Tony Bellew back in March 2016.

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Riakporhe is planning a world title clash at Selhurst Park in 2022

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Sky Sports that the 34-year-old is “in the process of finalising a voluntary defence”.

“We have ordered Noel [Gevor] Mikaelyan to fight Mchunu, who had a split decision loss to Makabu, as a final elimination,” said Sulaiman.

“At this moment we’re waiting for Makabu to come back to us.”

Riakporhe has made no secret of his ambitions to stage an eventual world title opportunity at Selhurt Park, the home of his beloved Crystal Palace.

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Riakporhe floors Deion Jumah for a second time to win their Cruiserweight contest at Wembley

While that remains both subject to approval and reliant on victory over Turchi, Shalom is hopeful of bringing Makabu over to the United Kingdom.

“We’re speaking to Don King’s team at the moment, he’s obviously involved with Makabu, we’ve got a good relationship, he’s helped us on a few things,” said Shalom.

“I think he’s desperate to get over to the UK and be involved with a fight night. I think it’s genuinely realistic.

“Richard can’t take his eye off the ball. Fabio Turchi is a seasoned operator, he’ll see it as his chance, his way back in almost after Tommy McCarthy, and he’s got to be on his game.

“He’s never faced a style like Turchi before.”



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