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Ryder v Sirotkin: Craig Richards vents frustration after Jake Ball announces late pull out

Craig Richards
Image: Craig 'Spider' Richards still hopes to fight this Saturday

Craig Richards says Jake Ball's late pull out is "embarrassing" and believes his British rival has tried to avoid a "beating" this weekend.

The south Londoner was left frustrated after Ball withdrew due to injury from Saturday's scheduled fight, but 'Spider' still hopes to appear on Saturday's bill at the Copper Box Arena, live on Sky Sports.

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After accepting Ball's verbal challenge, Richards has questioned whether the Dominic Ingle-trained fighter genuinely wanted to share the ring.

Craig Richards, Jake Ball
Image: Richards had been set to face Jake Ball at the Copper Box Arena

"One hundred per cent I was going to do a job on him," Richards told Sky Sports. "I've trained so hard for this as well, was so focused. I think his heart has gone.

"He's had a rubbish camp, Dominic [Ingle] knows that, and I don't think he fancied it in the first place. Any excuse, he wanted to get out. He was literally saying to himself, 'I'm going to get a beating'."

John Ryder
Image: John Ryder fights Andrey Sirotkin in a WBA final eliminator at the top of the bill

Ball has expressed his willingness to face Richards before the end of the year, but the 28-year-old insists he has already waited long enough for the light-heavyweight fight.

"He called me out in June," said Richards. "At first, I wasn't going to entertain it, he frustrated me, got under my skin, so I rang Peter the next morning and said: 'Can we make that fight?'

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He's called me out, and he's not even showing up. It's got to be embarrassing.
Craig Richards

"He was injured, so he wasn't going to be fit for July anyway. Heard I was going to fight him in September, and then got a call saying he was not going to be fit for September, but he fought a warm-up fight on September 21.

"I've waited all this time until the end of October, and he's waited until fight week to pull out. It's disrespectful, he's stalling my career. He's called me out, and he's not even showing up. It's got to be embarrassing.

"As much as I do want the fight, I do want the belt and stuff, how long can I wait with my career for one fighter? If he pulls out again, at the end of the year, what do I do then?"

Trainer Peter Sims hopes Richards can now work towards a rematch with Frank Buglioni after suffering a creditable points defeat in their British title fight last October.

Craig Richards, Frank Buglioni
Image: Richards is keen to battle Buglioni again

"Definitely, that's the fight that we want," said Sims. "It's the fight that we're gunning for.

"We think we're entitled to a rematch with Buglioni. It was only a weeks' notice, he wasn't a fully blown light-heavy then, but that's what we really want for the British or Commonwealth title, a Buglioni rematch."

Watch John Ryder's WBA final eliminator against Andrey Sirotkin, with Ted Cheeseman v Asinia Byfield, Ryan Doyle v Jordan Gill & Isaac Chamberlain on Copper Box Arena bill, Saturday, from 7pm on Sky Sports Action.

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