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  Richards Ready To Upset WBA Champion Bivol

Craig Richards says all of the pressure is on Dmitry Bivol ahead of their clash for the WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title this Saturday May 1 at the AO Arena, Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) delivered a Fight of the Year contender last time out in December against fierce rival Shakan Pitters as he stopped the Birmingham man in nine rounds to capture the British Light-Heavyweight crown.

Ranked at number 5 in the world with the WBA and number 7 with the IBF, 'Spider' earned his shot at world honours by remaining undefeated since his sole career loss against former World Title challenger Frank Buglioni in October 2017.

The Crystal Palace fighter, 30, comes into this weekend's showdown with Russia's long-reigning champion Bivol as a huge underdog and is all too aware of the huge task at hand, but feels he brings something to the table that none of Bivol's previous 17 opponents possessed.

ďYou come into boxing to become a World Champion Ė thatís always the goal," said Richards. "I couldnít be any happier that I have the opportunity to do that on Saturday. Iíve been fortunate to have these opportunities to push my career forwards. Getting the WBA Continental, getting myself in the world rankings. Iíve been in the top 10 with the WBA for two years now. Iím ranked a number 5 with the WBA and Iím in the top ten with the IBF as well.

ďIíve boxed on a lot of big stages already. Iíve boxed unbeaten fighters, Iíve had pressure fights, 50-50 fights and underdog fights. Iíve really been under pressure in my career constantly. All of those experiences have pushed me and got me prepared for this moment. I believe that every step gets your prepared for the next one. Iíve taken the right steps. Now itís another step. Iím the underdog again. Iíve had to do things the hard way to get myself into this position.

"I know this guy is no joke. Iíve made sure Iím prepared in all areas. Heís a good fighter. He likes to be busy at times. He has decent footwork. Thereís a couple of good names on his record. I donít believe heís boxed someone who brings the stuff I bring to the ring. I think heís boxed a lot of different types of styles. I think my style is slightly different and I donít think heís crossed that yet.

ďThe bigger the challenge, the more exciting it is for me. I always get up for a challenge. Every time Iím in a big Title fight when Iím the underdog, I go out there and I get the job done. I havenít had to go through the gears yet. This is the sort of fight that will get the best out of me. Iíll show everyone what Iím really about. All I think about is that first bell. Thatí the moment I really canít wait for.

ďThereís no pressure on me, thereís pressure on him. Heís the World Champion. Heís meant to be this big star. Heís meant to be this super champion from Russia. Heís going to want to go out there and look tremendous. Heíll want to make a statement, so thereís going to be pressure on him to go out there and perform. The pressure is on him, but Iím putting pressure on myself because I want to make sure I get that Title and prove everyone wrong."

Bivol vs. Richards is part of a huge night of action in Manchester, Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) and Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) collide in a huge Heavyweight clash, Irish star Katie Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) defends her Undisputed Lightweight crown against former amateur rival Natasha Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returns against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), Belfast's James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) faces Mexico's Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) for the IBO Lightweight World Title, Preston Super-Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) makes his long awaited return and Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (1-0) fights in his home city for the first time as a pro.


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