Opetaia and Francis react to Riakporhe withdrawing

08/08/2023 - No comments

The boxing world was left scratching its head when Richard Riakporhe backed out of a scheduled purse bid just hours before it was due. Mick Francis, the man behind Jai Opetaia’s rise to IBF and Ring Magazine champion, didn’t hide his disappointment.

“It’s like Jai’s the guy everyone’s scared to face,” Francis said, disbelief in his voice. “Twice now, challengers have left us hanging at the last minute. First Masternak, now Riakporhe.”

Francis’ frustration was visible, especially as he’d been talking regularly with Ben Shalom from Boxxer all the way through. Riakporhe’s claim of having accepted the fight twice was a shock to him. “If he accepted, then why were we still talking about purse bids? It just doesn’t add up.”

The confusion doesn’t stop there. When Masternak pulled out earlier, Boxxer was adamant that Riakporhe had the right to challenge. Now, Riakporhe’s sudden withdrawal raises questions about Boxxer’s intentions and Richard’s true desire for the fight.

Wilder to Ruiz: "Andy, sign the contract so I'll beat that a**!"

“As promoters, we’re here to make great fights happen – for the boxers and the fans. I’m just not sure Boxxer’s living up to that right now,” Francis remarked, clearly feeling let down.

Jai Opetaia, the champion caught in the middle, was also left baffled. “I’m ready to fight,” he said, a note of frustration in his voice. “When you get the chance to fight for the world title, you don’t back out. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The next steps for Opetaia and his team include reaching out to the IBF for guidance, trying to find a way to get their champion back in the ring. Francis ended on a determined note, “Jai’s desperate to fight. We’ll find someone to step in the ring with him. In the Cruiserweight division, everyone has to face Jai sooner or later.”

Fans and analysts will undoubtedly keep a keen eye on how the situation develops, eager to see who next steps up to challenge Opetaia, a fighter seemingly in search of a worthy opponent.