Frank Smith Blasts Ben Shalom For Richard Riakporhe Withdrawal, "He's Pulled Another Fighter Out For His Own Gain"

Frank Smith BLASTS Ben Shalom For Richard Riakporhe Withdrawal, “He’s Pulled Another Fighter Out For His Own Gain”

  • 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
  • Frank Smith Has Criticized Ben Shalom Claiming The Withdrawal Was Due To Network Politics

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.

Frank Smith On Richard Riakporhe Pulling Out Of The Opetaia Fight

“It’s disappointing”, Frank Smith told Boxing News, “This isn’t the first time it’s happened.”

Smith references back to the notorious Wardley-Clarke situation where Clarke was pulled out from the British title purse bids at a similarly late time in the process.

That fight also included Matchroom-BOXXER and similarly had a BOXXER mandatory challenger withdraw from purse bids with a champion promoted by Hearn’s Matchroom after a deal could not be reached beforehand.

“He (Riakporhe) would’ve been spun a story why not to do this. It’s the same old thing (as Wardley-Clarke), BOXXER don’t want to lose a purse bid to us.”

Smith insists that the withdrawal was primarily down to BOXXER rather than the fighter’s choice and as a result of promoter/network politics as Opetaia is rep’d by Matchroom/DAZN.

“That’s not for the benefit of your fighter, the benefit of your fighter is getting the best possible opportunities. He’s worked so hard to build himself into a position to win a world title and BOXXER/Ben Shalom doesn’t want him to fight on another platform.”

“He’s pulled another fighter out for his own gain, nothing to do with the fighter and what they want.”

Smith also responds to Riakporhe’s statement which alludes to the Brit accepting two offers to face Opetaia but neither coming to fruition as the reason why he pulled out of the purse bids.

“Go to Purse bids and get paid the most amount of money possible. Or send an email and go ‘We’ll take your offer of X money in this location’, simple as that no?”

By Darshan Desai

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