Whyte vs Rivas: Richard Riakporhe survived a knife attack before becoming cruiserweight contender
Watch Riakporhe-Billam-Smith on the Dillian Whyte-Oscar Rivas bill at The O2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 17/07/19 9:59pm
Richard Riakporhe tells Sky Sports about overcoming a knife attack before becoming one of Britain's hottest cruiserweight contenders.
Another knife victim, another teenager lying in blood, another life seeping away, only Riakporhe was different. The Londoner did not succumb to his wounds, no longer scuffling in streetlights, but battling for a belt on the Dillian Whyte-Oscar Rivas bill on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
"When I talk to people about it, they didn't believe it was even possible to get to where I am now," the 29-year-old told Sky Sports. "Virtually dying to changing my life completely around, graduating from uni, turning pro, and just being successful so far. Achieving this much at this stage."
Riakporhe now tours schools, telling students how he left behind his treacherous lifestyle and graduated from Kingston University before his boxing talent gained recognition from world-ranked heavyweight Whyte.
Having racked up a succession of wins, Riakporhe demonstrated his raw power in sparring sessions with Whyte, who agreed to guide his career in a hotly contested domestic division.
After fighting back to halt Sam Hyde and a ruthless stoppage of Tommy McCarthy, he now faces the unbeaten Chris Billam-Smith.
"I just feel like my will, my heart and my determination is second to none," said Riakporhe when reflecting on the qualities required in his next fight.
"That alone beats most fighters. It's hard to beat a man that is not going to back down, let alone can box, and has a decent repertoire, boxing ability and skill. It's virtually impossible."
Victory would propel Riakporhe further up the rankings and even closer to an explosive shootout with Lawrence Okolie, the current British and Commonwealth king.
Riakporhe knows that his raw edges remain, regardless of long hours with trainer Mark Tibbs.
"I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm not a perfect individual or human being. I still make mistakes like everybody else does. But I feel like what's the point of living if we're not bringing value to the world.
"I feel like we're stealing from it, because we can affect things for the better.
"I'll always use my life as an example, so they can see the adversities that I had to overcome to get to the position I'm in now."
Watch Richard Riakporhe vs Chris Billam-Smith on the Whyte vs Rivas undercard on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.