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Richard Riakporhe wants to face best version of Lawrence Okolie after 'falling sleep' in rival's last fight

Richard Riakporhe feels he is "destined for greatness" and has warned Lawrence Okolie to bring his A game when the cruiserweight rivals eventually meet in the ring; watch Okolie face Chris Billam-Smith live on Sky Sports on Saturday, May 27

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Cruiserweights Lawrence Okolie and Richard Riakporhe sit either side of Boxxer CEO Ben Shalom in Birmingham.

Richard Riakporhe has learned to embrace boxing's 'show' and the role of entertainer, so when the time comes to meet world champion Lawrence Okolie he wants the very best of his British cruiserweight rival. 

The Midnight Train has swatted at external opinions and any flicker of doubt while patiently clobbering his way from dormancy to world title contention, with WBC champion Okolie and WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian among those now lying in wait as deserved title opportunities.

Riakporhe watched on from home in March as Okolie made his return to action with a unanimous decision victory over New Zealand's David Light. And while he concedes a touch of ring rust was to be expected, the 33-year-old has both urged and warned Okolie to tool up in the event of a domestic showdown.

"I fell asleep, I was bored, I was frustrated and tired and I was sick and tired, I was literally sick and that's why I didn't show up," Riakporhe told Sky Sports. "I wanted to come to the fight but I was in bed, everybody was contacting me on my phone.

"That actually p***** me off even more because I was expecting something explosive. You have to bear in mind I'm a fan, talking from a fan's perspective.

"Even though I'm a professional, I'm a fan and I didn't get my money's worth even though I didn't pay for it."

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Richard Riakporhe has set his sights on world titles after signing a long-term contract extension with BOXXER and Sky Sports

Okolie is currently gearing up to defend his WBC cruiserweight title against Chris Billam-Smith, live on Sky Sports on May 27.

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Riakporhe, who knows all about the strains of inactivity, did spare sympathy for his future opponent after some criticism of his performance in what had marked his first fight in over a year.

"At the same time I'm in his corner because I understand how it is when you're coming back off a layoff and to add to that he also had some difficulties behind closed doors with contractual issues and stuff like that so you have to give him a bit of leeway," Riakporhe said.

"I don't like to criticise fighters, I'm a fighter myself and I'm my biggest critic, I criticise myself, but he has to do better and it's only for the best interests of our division, himself and myself, because people want to see a potential clash between us.

"The better he performs, the better for me, the more money in my pocket, the more money in his pocket, it makes sense. Hopefully he puts on a better performance next time."

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Johnny Nelson says world cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie needs to develop his skills further if he wants to keep hold of his WBO title.

Okolie by now is no stranger to division over his style, nor will he care. And for all that might be said about his awkward ring demeanour, what remains impossible to deny is just how difficult he is to break down and beat.

Richard Riakporhe's game-plan involves, quite simply, being Richard Riakporhe.

"You've got to rough him up, take him to the streets, take it old school. I don't need to think too much about it," he said.

"To be honest, I'm a decent technical fighter, I can beat a lot of people technically, but I can smash these guys up as well and go old school, I know exactly what I am.

"My type of style is a very dangerous style because I can box and if things don't well, I'll just fight you. I've got power with both hands, I'm fearless, I know what I am.

"The question is how can he deal with me, that should be the question."

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Highlights of Richard Riakporhe's stunning stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki in Manchester

Riakporhe has witnessed the heavyweight division he and Okolie aspire to one day join stumble through marquee negotiations, and wants no part of it.

Okolie, Goulamirian, Jai Opetaia, Chris Billam-Smith. It is big fights from here on out.

"I've got every single one of them on my mind," he said. "Everybody has a preference, my team has a preference, but me as a fighter I'll jump in the ring with any of them, I have to.

"That's what it's about, I've seen the heavyweight division and all of the politics and fights not happening, fans being disappointed. I've been reading the comments and it's making the game poor.

"Me, where I came from, for me to walk back onto the roads where I grew up, I wouldn't be able to do that if we're not jumping in the ring and testing ourselves.

"I have more of a mindset where I have nothing to lose because if you knew how I came to the game, I had all the odds stacked against me and I kept on coming through. It's given me the belief I'm a lucky guy, and my luck is not going to run out any time soon.

"I feel like I'm destined for greatness."

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Richard Riakporhe says he's better in every department than WBC champion Badou Jack and also discusses British rivals Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith.

He says he has "fallen in love" with boxing's theatre, which in his case is easily sold on the thrill of a vicious Riakporhe knockout. Riakporhe the fighter is learning to be Riakporhe the star.

"I think I was just so conscious of myself, almost too conscious, where every single movement I just start to act a bit strange and too self-conscious," he admitted.

"But now I understand it's all about entertainment, giving the fans something to remember and I'm more engaged in that now.

"I want to put on a show, I'm not fearful if things don't go right for me in a round, and I have to dig deep to put it back. It's all part of the spectacle and I want everybody to be fixated on the Riakporhe show.

"I'm doing more and more studying the game. It's understanding this is my show, I want people to remember it. I want people to get their money's worth and be entertained, so I'm turning more into an entertainer now, which wasn't the case in the past."

Watch Lawrence Okolie defend his WBC cruiserweight world title against Chris Billam-Smith at Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium, live on Sky Sports on Saturday May 27; Mikael Lawal also faces Isaac Chamberlain for the British cruiserweight title.

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