Craig Richards: I'm ready to upset the odds and become world champion

Can Richards deliver one of the biggest upsets in recent memory by dethroning Dmitry Bivol next month?

Craig Richards is a man on a mission.

The 30-year-old has been given a golden opportunity to become world champion.

The only problem is, he is facing the best light heavyweight fighter in the division alongside Artur Beterbiev in Dmitri Bivol.

Making the seventh defence of his WBA world title, Bivol will fight for the first time since 2019 and has the chance to showcase his skills in the UK for the first time on May 1.

The Russian has even been linked with a showdown against Pound for Pound superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The odds are stacked against Richards, whose last bout saw him rip away the famous Lonsdale belt from Shakan Pitters.

He is, however, unbeaten since 2017 and has won five of his last seven contests inside the distance, including a stoppage of Jake Ball.

"Spider", who has a bigger reach than Bivol, is relishing the chance to deliver a huge upset at the Manchester Arena.

"It always makes me perform when I'm the underdog and you look at every single title fight I've had from my Southern Area - when I was six or seven fights in, I boxed a guy 12-0, 6 knockouts, massive underdog in the bookies - I ripped the script up, got my first title," he told the Pound for Pound boxing podcast.

"When I boxed Jake Ball for the WBA Continental title, yet again the bookies massive underdog, ripped the script up, got him out of there. Shakan Pitters again, I was 9-1 for a stoppage, 4 or 5- 1 for a win, again massive underdog, went out there, got him out of there.

"I need to step up and get to the level I believe that I'm at to get me up for the fight, to get me to go up and perform to go through my gears, to show everyone what I'm really about, and that's why we asked Eddie for Dmitry Bivol," Richards continued.

"I haven't seen him box someone like myself fresh, good jab, fast feet, can move, can box, good chin, good punching power.

"I haven't seen him fight someone with all of these assets and I believe he does a lot of things well, he's got good feet, I've got good feet, he's got a good jab I've got a better jab, he's six foot, I'm six, three.

"I feel like there's a lot of departments where I believe on paper I match him if not beat him on certain aspects and I just believe that I'm a very smart fighter.

"I've got a good IQ and good adaptability and I believe I'm the man for the job. I wouldn't take the job if I didn't believe I could win," Richards concluded.

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Richard's ambitious attempt at world glory is one of two world title fights on the undercard of the main event between heavyweight titans Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker.

Irish superstar Katie Taylor returns and makes the second defence as undisputed lightweight champion against Olympian and world title challenger Natasha Jonas.

Chris Eubank Jr. is also in action, under the guidance of Roy Jones Jr., and locks horns with Marcus Morrison.

The show is live and exclusive to Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland with DAZN streaming the card worldwide.

To listen to the full podcast with Craig Richards, click here. Each week Jake Wood & Spencer Oliver are joined by the biggest names from the sport, alongside celebrity boxing fans - on Pound for Pound, the new home for boxing podcasts.

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