October 22, 2020
Riakporhe was nearly killed in a brutal stabbing in London 15 years ago. Now he is working his way to a boxing world title
Richard Riakporhe: ‘I felt the need to change the whole narrative’
By Richard Foster for the Guardian Sport Network
Richard Riakporhe is between his morning training session and his afternoon hill run. The Coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with the boxing calendar but he is staying focused. Having won his first 11 fights as a professional – as well as picking up the British and WBA Intercontinental titles along the way – Riakporhe knows his next outing in the ring could be an eliminator for a world title. He has been training at Loughborough University for the last few months and is feeling sharp. “Loughborough offers me unbelievable, state-of-the-art facilities all under one roof,” he says. “I have everything I need right here, all the equipment plus support from a huge range of specialists like nutritionists, trainers and performance analysts.”
This pristine environment is a far cry from where Riakporhe grew up in the Aylesbury estate in south London. With more than 7,500 residents, the Aylesbury was one of the largest housing estates in Europe. It was also one of the toughest. Tony Blair delivered his first speech as prime minister at the estate, telling the crowd that “the poorest people in our country have been forgotten by government” and that his party wanted to create a “new Britain with no no-hope areas”.
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