- Richard Riakporhe, Today, Withdrew From The Jai Opetaia IBF World Title Purse Bids
- The Unbeaten British Cruiserweight Stated He Accepted Two Offers For The Fight
- Eddie Hearn Has Slammed Riakporhe For Allowing Himself To Be ‘Talked Out Of A Life-Changing Oppportunity’
The IBF officially ordered their Cruiserweight champion Australia’s Jai Opetaia to face Britain’s Richard Riakporhe after Poland’s Mateusz Masternak withdrew from the mandatory position.
Opetaia, who is widely regarded as the #1 fighter in the division, was signed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing in July – a deal that had been in the works before the IBF ordered Opetaia-Riakporhe.
Riakporhe today, also, withdrew from the purse bids leaving the Australian without a fight after months of waiting.
Fans are sceptical of the reasons behind the pullout citing similarities to earlier in the year with Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke.
Eddie Hearn On Richard Riakporhe Pulling Out Of The Opetaia Fight
“After Masternak pulled out, we went to the IBF and said can you let us just have a really quick defence”, Eddie Hearn told Boxing Social, “But BOXXER complained and basically objected to Opetaia to be allowed a quick defence because Riakporhe was mandatory, ‘he shouldn’t be allowed any exceptions, we got to go to Purse bids’.”
Matchroom initially wanted to stage a voluntary defence for Opetaia rather than a mandatory so they could get him in the ring as soon as possible considering the Australian star has not boxed in over a year.
But Hearn claims that BOXXER pushed the IBF to reject the request.
“But then you go to a purse bid today and Richard Riakporhe has an opportunity to fight the best Cruiserweight in the world for the IBF and Ring magazine championship for life-changing money cause we were gonna bid serious money and he’s told to pull out of the purse bids because ‘we got other ideas’ and then he’s told to issue a statement.”
Hearn claims that BOXXER/Ben Shalom was influential in the withdrawal and persuaded him to turn down a title shot and pursuit another route.
“When are fighters going to start getting represented properly? I’m talking about advice, legal advice, guidance. You don’t get talked into turning down the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The promoter insists that Riakporhe would not have made that decision if he had a proper management team/advisors acting in his best interest.
“Look at Frazer Clarke that’s had a terrible effect on Frazer Clarke and what’s happened for his career and mentally as well.”
“What’s Richard Riakporhe being spun?”
“You’ve wasted 5 weeks of Jai Opetaia’s career by basically not having the money to rock up to the purse bids or be too worried about losing the purse bids.”
“And when they make you issue a statement saying ‘we’ve just run out of patience’, mate the purse bids in 3 hours, there’s no patience required.”