As an amateur, Viddal Riley compiled an impressive collection of medals and other boxing honours. Now he has his sights on the first of his professional career.
The 24-year-old makes his second appearance on the comeback trail from two years out when he steps into the ring to face an as-yet-unnamed opponent on Saturday’s BOXXER show at Wembley Arena, live on Sky Sports,
A win on points over Willbeforce Shihepo four months ago took Riley’s pro record to 5(2)-0 and as well as maintaining that unbeaten start, the former national champion and European Junior Championship silver-medallist is aiming to stay on course for a shot at a belt within the next year.
“In the next 12 months, I’d like to pick up a title,” Riley told Sky Sports,
“I don’t know what title, I’m not putting my finger on it, but I’d like to have something to put in my living room – or at least my dad’s living room, because I don’t really keep my trophy.
“But something as a professional; I had a lot as an amateur, time to say ‘as a pro I got this’. So, next 12 months, I’m going to achieve that.”
Riley, who made his professional debut in 2018, had been kept out of action since February 2020 due to injury and while he has declined to divulge details of what exactly the ailment was, he is adamant it is not something which will continue to hinder his progress.
Prior to that point, he had been busy compiling an unbeaten start to his career in the paid ranks – including first-round stoppages of Julio Manuel Gonzalez and Mitchell Spangler – while fighting in exotic locales like Tijuana, Dubai and Las Vegas.
Indeed, the win over Shihepo was Riley’s first fight on these shores since turning pro and he has vowed a much-improved display for his London homecoming from that six-rounder on the undercard of Kell Brook and Amir Khan’s grudge match.
“I know my full potential,” Riley said. “I didn’t show it in the Shihepo fight, which is understandable – two years out, you’re not going to match your potential, but I’m active now and I’m ready.
“The reason I didn’t get Shihepo out of there was because I was focused on getting him out of there. The game is called boxing, I have to box. As long as I box, those things will happen.
I had a lot [of titles] as an amateur, time to say ‘as a pro I got this’. So, next 12 months, I’m going to achieve that.
“In those parts of the fight where I was choosing to box, I had more success. When I started thinking about the hill, it got further away.
“Whatever you chase, it means it’s running away from you, so I’m not trying to chase that. I’m going to enjoy it, it’s my first fight in London as a professional, I’m excited, it’s about putting on a show and normally if I put on a show I produce a knock-out.”
Riley’s fight at Wembley Arena comes on the same bill as another up-and-coming British cruiserweight, with Richard Riakporhe headlining as he takes on Fabio Turchi in a contest which has been designated an eliminator by the IBF sanctioning body.
He is well-aware he and Riakporhe could well find themselves meeting sooner rather than later if their respective careers continue on their current trajectories, but is more focused on honing his own skills.
“It’s all about how I perform,” Riley said. “I can say what I want, but it’s how I deliver and how I show.
“If I’m showing performances which show I’m closer to Richard’s level, then Richard might be nearer than I think. It’s all about my progress; I’m not rushing for that, I’m 24 years old, I don’ t need to rush.
“I need to become the best boxer I can be and that’s by picking the right opponents and taking my time.”