Richardson Hitchins believes he’s adept enough to stay calm despite headlining for the first time in his career this coming Saturday. He is confident that he’ll showcase an impressive fight against Jose Zepeda, as the two go toe-to-toe at Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, broadcast LIVE on DAZN.
Hitchins, with a record of (16-0, 7 KOs), is rapidly making strides towards the top-contenders in the 140lbs division. A win over the ex-World title challenger Zepeda, boasting a record of (37-3, 28 KOs), would place the Brooklyn-based fighter in a significant position to compete for the championship belts.
The 25-year-old recently teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn to visit Orlando’s School of Hard Knocks gym. There, they shared insights with budding fighters. The efforts by the community gym reminded Hitchins of his journey – from modest roots to nearing the pinnacle of success.
“I don’t really sense the stress of taking center stage,” commented Hitchins. “I feel I was destined for this; I’m built for it. Pressure has always been there for me since day one, yet I manage it, given my confidence in my skills and my identity. I am a distinct fighter; ultimately, it’s about the sport, and I genuinely consider myself among the elite.”
“Every fight holds significance. I approach this fight with the same mindset as all my earlier ones; it’s imperative to win. If you perfect boxing, you can take on the world. I’m in this profession to attain the pinnacle.
“Reflecting on my journey from my initial days to being the main event this Saturday, it’s been an incredible ride. I remember being a young lad, inspired by Marcus Browne’s performance in the 2012 Olympics. I was about 14 then, and that sparked my initial goal of aiming for the Olympics.
“Progressing from that point, joining Mayweather Promotions, competing on Showtime, claiming victory over ex-World Champion Argenis Mendis, to now being the primary event; it all feels predestined.
“Pursuing a dream, it’s not uncommon for others to question or undervalue you. External challenges are always there, but with my kind of determination and keeping an eye on the prize, you just stay the course. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and the focus is on reaching that brighter phase.
“I recall times when my family had no shelter; our beginnings were harsh. Yet, I was always certain boxing would pave a brighter path. I’m driven to ensure that my family and I don’t revisit those hard times. In a nutshell, I believe I possess a unique talent, and I’m dedicated to leveraging that not only for victories in the ring but for ensuring a better life for my loved ones as well.”
The fight between Hitchins and Zepeda is just one of the significant fights in Orlando. The event also features the return of the British sensation Conor Benn (21-0, 14 KOs), who is set to fight Mexican Super-Welterweight Rodolfo ‘Sinaloita’ Orozco (32-3-3, 24 KOs).
In a unification fight for the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBO, and Ring Magazine Welterweight titles, Jessica McCaskill (12-3, 5 KOs) and Sandy Ryan (6-1, 2 KOs) are set to face off. Also, Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (14-0, 10 KOs) will further solidify his spot for a World title at Middleweight as he engages with Steve Rolls (22-2, 12 KOs).
Orestes Velazquez (7-0, 6 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBA International Super-Lightweight title in the “Before the Bell” fight against Mohamed Soumaoro (13-1, 6 KOs). Khalil Coe (6-0-1, 4 KOs) continues his ascent in the Light-Heavyweight division, aiming for his third KO win of 2023 against Kenmon Evans (10-1-1, 3 KOs). The evening will also feature Super-Welterweight Jeovanny Estella (12-0, 3 KOs) and Super-Flyweight Jasmine Artega (10-0-1, 5 KOs) in a respectable eight-round fight. Bantamweight Roberto Rivera Gomez (3-0, 2 KOs) will open up the event in a four-round fight, with all their opponents to be announced soon.
“I’m genuinely enthusiastic about this upcoming bout. I’m grateful to the Almighty for this chance and want to extend my appreciation to Eddie and Matchroom. Jose Zepeda asserts that I’ve never competed at this tier. But he overlooks that, at 22, with just ten pro fights under my belt, I conquered opponents like Argenis Mendez, a former world champion. Ever since, every opponent that I’ve faced, if not at a world championship standard, felt like a regression for me.
Zepeda might have a long roster of pro fights, but his record lacks the challenges that I’ve faced. Many of his opponents didn’t have the dynamism or the skills I possess. They mostly displayed a predictable style. Take Ivan Baranchyk, for example. Despite being one of Zepeda’s notable victories, Baranchyk showcased no basic boxing techniques. Zepeda’s experience or his past bouts with fighters like Jose Ramirez won’t give him an edge when he fights against me this Saturday.
There’s a reason I’ve reached this stage with only 16 fights under my belt: I’m a tactically sound fighter. Zepeda will realize this once our fight begins. Every time he mentions fighting standards, he brings up fighters like Josue Vargas, whom he verbally maneuvered his way into fighting. I’ve earned my spot in this fight by sheer merit and have consistently outperformed all my competitors. Zepeda is in for a challenging night. My aim is to have a lasting legacy in the sport.
I don’t necessarily view this bout as a rigorous challenge, but it surely is a test. Zepeda has earned his reputation as an adept boxer. Fighters like Baranchyk made errors that allowed Zepeda to triumph, but he won’t have that luxury against me because I leave no room for errors.”