British cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe moved closer to a world title fight after a destructive victory over Fabio Turchi in an IBF eliminator.
Riakporhe, 32, maintained his unbeaten record with the 15th win of his career after a stunning second-round stoppage.
The Londoner floored Turchi with a brutal left hook body shot and although the Italian beat the count, his trainer ran into the ring to end the contest.
“I feel great, I didn’t have much time to get into it,” said Riakporhe.
“I landed a good shot and I’m building up the reputation that I’m now the body snatcher. Call me the body snatcher now.
“There were some points I was trying to target, my coaches are amazing. We had a gameplan, keep it long, but look for the opportunity and when you can punish, do it and that’s exactly what I did.
“I keep telling everyone, I’m the fighter. I’ve had four fights in nine months and want to go out again [later this year]. We’re taking over, all these champions are running scared.”
Turchi, 28, had only lost one of his previous 21 fights, but was immediately rocked by a jab and used very defensive tactics against an opponent, at 6ft 5in, three inches taller him.
Riakporhe, who has now won 11 fights inside the distance, believes his straight right is his best punch, but it was a stunning left hook to the body in the second round that caused the damage.
Turchi, immediately showing signs of distress, surprisingly got up off the canvas, but was still holding his ribs as his trainer ran into the ring to stop the fight.
Riakporhe targets a world champion next
Earlier this week, Riakporhe said he wanted to have a shot at a world title either later this year or early in 2023 and this victory takes him closer to a fight with IBF holder Mairis Briedis, as long as the 37-year-old Latvian beats Australian Jai Opetaia on 2 July in Australia’s Gold Coast.
However, there are other potential opponents for Riakporhe.
His promoters Boxxer are also in talks over a potential bout with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu from DR Congo, while promoters for France’s Arsen Goulamirian, the WBA ‘Super’ champion, this week said they would be interested in a fight, although Goulamiran has not fought since December 2019.
Lawrence Okolie is the current WBO belt holder and that could be a huge all-British clash in the future, with Riakporhe, who eventually sees himself fighting at heavyweight, saying it was “very, very likely” they would meet in the next two years.
“Every single champion, I’ve had enough, I want to fight them all,” added Riakporhe. “I have power in both hands, my technique was a mess before, now I’ve worked with [trainer] Angel Fernandez and worked it out.
“That’s why you see me knock people out with my left hand and I didn’t use my right. It’s serious business, we’re not playing anymore.
“Angel Fernandez has spoken to me and analysed my mindset. He said to get to the next level you need to change, that’s why you see me getting rid of people earlier.”
Promoter Ben Shalom said he would be trying to get a world title shot for Riakporhe in 2022.
“He was my first signing and every time he won, people were making an excuse,” said Shalom. “He has just stopped a guy inside three rounds. He’s an incredible specimen and that was his left hand.
“No-one wants to get in the ring with Richard Riakporhe. I was asked who is the biggest puncher I’ve seen and I said Richard and they laughed.
“We have a superstar. We want to see him develop in the right way and I’m so happy for him. People need to put some respect on him.
“I think he can fight for a world title this year. Richard Riakporhe will be a world champion.”
Undercard round-up – wins for Price, Chelli, Kongo and Riley
On the undercard, Wales’ Olympic champion Lauren Price made a winning start to her professional career with an impressive victory over Valgerdur Gudstensdottir.
Price, 27, won every round of the six-round bout at London’s Wembley Arena.
Zak Chelli became the new English super-middleweight champion, defeating Germaine Brown on points, thanks to 98-93, 97-94 and 98-92 verdicts.
Britain’s Chris Kongo became the new WBC international silver welterweight champion with a unanimous points decision win over Germany’s Sebastian Formella in a thrilling 10-round contest.
Kongo, who has now won 14 of his 15 fights, got the decision 97-93, 97-94 and 98-92 on the judges’ scorecards.
Cruiserweight Viddal Riley produced a stunning first-round knockout of fellow Briton Jone Volau to move to six wins from six contests.
Riley, who trained KSI for his two fights with fellow YouTuber Logan Paul in 2018 and 2019 and who has more than 1m YouTube subscribers himself, won in only 51 seconds, finishing the fight with a brutal left hook.