Rising cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe continued his march to world honours as he hammered Krzysztof Glowacki to defeat inside four rounds on the Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith undercard.
Riakporhe rocketed up the cruiserweight rankings in a stellar 2022, but could not risk defeat when he came up against former world WBO champion Glowacki at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday.
Cagey in the first round Riakporhe led with his cross, but then stuck out jabs to maintain the distance between them.
Poland’s Glowacki did though connect with a southpaw left and the two traded for an instant.
Glowacki hit a hard backhand left to Riakporhe’s body and at once the Londoner struck back with his right.
They had been looking for openings in the first round and Riakporhe found his in the second, stunning Glowacki with an explosive right.
With the Pole badly rocked, Riakporhe bombarded him with shots from either hand. It was only the ropes that kept Glowacki on his feet.
But remarkably he recovered from that and got through to the third round. The pace slowed as Riakporhe marked Glowacki out with further jabs. The Pole still slammed a solid jab of his own into the body.
Glowacki showed signs of the experience he acquired in his long career. He landed a neat combination as a left to the body set up a right hook to the head.
But Riakporhe still concluded the third landing his right cleanly to head, just the kind of blows Glowacki couldn’t afford to let through.
The Londoner looked for more of those power punches in the fourth round and Glowacki had to gulp in air when a cross tested his body.
But it was a huge right hook to the head that proved Glowacki’s undoing. It landed with shuddering force. Glowacki reeled back and “The Midnight Train” steamed into him, backing Glowacki into a cornerpost and ramming in further hooks.
Referee Howard Foster was immediately in place to intervene and as soon as he saw Glowacki was out on his feet he called a halt with 16 seconds left in the fourth round.
“Next stop all the champions!” Riakporhe declared afterwards.
“Jai Opetaia, I know you’re watching this. Trust me, we’re coming for you.
“[Ilunga] Makabu, you lot can’t run no more. [Lawrence] Okolie, [Arsen] Goulamirian, I know all of you lot and I think about you every day when I go to sleep.”
Ekow Essuman defended his British and Commonwealth welterweight titles after edging out Chris Kongo on a majority decision.
Kongo initiated the action, poking out his jab as Nottingham’s Essuman looked to counter him. He has success from range even as Essuman worked in close and landed a decent right hand. Kongo answered that with solid punches of his own.
As the fight reached the halfway stage Essuman upped the pace of his work and pushed Kongo into the ropes. He endeavoured to turn it into a physical battle, opening up with a salvo of hooks to the body.
In the 10th round Kongo slung long straight punches as Essuman came on. But the champion was starting to break through and in the next round a hard right landed clean. Essuman stayed resolutely on the front foot and hammered at his challenger.
The onslaught forced Kongo back into the ropes and to hold when he could. The Londoner escaped behind jabs, needing to keep the British champion at bay.
Kongo dredged up energy and fired in his right cross. But Essuman only cranked up the pressure, working desperately hard. He landed an enormous right but the determined challenger regained his composure.
The Londoner finished standing proud and both embraced at the final bell.
Essuman retained his belts with two of the scorecards in his favour, 116-113 and 115-114, while one of the judges had the bout level at 114-114.
“As I said from the start, it was just the experience of having those longer fights, those other 12-rounders, those really hard fights where I had to dig in deep,” Essuman reflected.
“The proof is in the pudding.
“Boxing’s about what you can do when you’re tired, not about what you can do when you’re fit, and my name’s ‘Engine.'”