Richard Riakporhe can overcome banana skin to line up WBC world title shot

Richard Riakporhe looks primed to continue his climb up the cruiserweight rankings on Saturday night against British rival Deion Jumah.

Billed as the most explosive puncher in British boxing, Richard Riakporhe faces a banana-skin challenge from the unbeaten Deion Jumah (14-0) at Wembley Arena.

Riakporhe (13-0) was due to face former European champion Fabio Turchi this weekend, while Jumah was pencilled in to fight Mikael Lawal. But with both opponents withdrawing due to injury, promoter Ben Shalom put the pair together.

It's a terrific opportunity for the 32-year-old Jumah, who would be described as lightly raced, if he was a racehorse. Injuries, including a career-threatening issue with his eye, have stopped the London southpaw from getting the fights he would have liked over recent years.

Junah has only fought twice in the last three years and he may find his inactivity a major hurdle against the hard-hitting Riakporhe.

Jumah did outpoint Namibian Willbeforce Shihepo, who had lost 14 fights previously, in a four-round contest on February 26. It was more a case of getting through unscathed for Jumah, who had his sights on Riakporhe.

"I've sparred Richard a number of times. It was a long time ago," Jumah told Boxing News. "So what he's doing now could be different to what he was doing then.

"But from what I've seen in his fights I don't see much improvement. I've watched his fights and I don't see much improvement from what I was seeing three or four years ago."

Riakporhe is the WBC mandatory challenger and he has plenty to lose should he slip up against Junah. The orthodox Londoner, who has been seen in an open session working southpaw, has his sights on a world title fight with Ilunga Makubu.

That exciting clash could be one for late summer, as long at Riakporhe can get past Jumah.

Riakporhe in line for Makubu fight

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said Riakporhe was in the mix to fight the Congolese champion Ilunga Makubu (29-2, 25 KOs).

"I think that [Makabu vs Riakporhe] would be a great match for the future," said Sulaiman in November.

Riakporhe has worked his way quietly into cruiserweight contention and his fifth-round stoppage of Olanrewaju Durodola last time out was destructive.

There's no doubt Riakporhe can punch and it was a left hook that saw the demise of Durodola in November before the Walworth man finished his Nigerian opponent on the ropes.

Riakporhe said: "Deion doesn't have any significant wins, and he's been professional for a while, so we'll find out on Saturday why that is. He's been talking a good game and is undefeated, but once I start letting my hands go and connect, I don't think he's conditioned to take my power.

"I've had a great camp with Anthony Joshua, Kieron Molloy and Frazer Clarke, and everybody wants to make a name for themselves and make their mark on the world. AJ still has the hunger to come in the gym every single day and that shows character."

Career wins over Sam Hyde, Tommy McCarthy, Chris Billam-Smith, Jack Massey and Krzysztof Twardowski set Riakporhe on course for victory over Durodola for the WBC silver cruiserweight belt.

There's no doubt Makubu will be in his thoughts, but Riakporhe will have to safely navigate past a desperate Jumah, who will see Saturday as his chance to make the big time.

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