Light heavyweight contender, Craig Richards says he would be open to fighting for the European title next and is also keen on a clash with WBO champion, Joe Smith Jr.
Richards (17-2-1, 10 KOs) bounced back from a unanimous decision defeat to WBA titlist, Dmitry Bivol in May with a sixth round stoppage over tough Pole, Marek Matyja at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.
‘Spider’ became the first man to stop the 31-year-old and believes the experience of fighting Bivol had an impact on helping him see off Matyja.
“[He was] very tough,” Richards told proboxing-fans.com post-fight.
“I hit him, hit him again and he didn’t even blink at a second, I said, ‘I’m here for a long night.’
“But, I just settled down, stuck to my boxing. I thought I’ve just got to break him down systematically and that’s what I did.
“I broke him down systematically. When [trainer] Peter [Sims] gave me the green light saying, ‘I think you’ve broke him down now, step on it,’ I stepped on it and got him out of there.
“I think with the Bivol fight I stayed in my comfortability zone.
“When I hurt him I didn’t really go through the gears, I stayed in my comfort zone and tonight I did the opposite.
“I boxed, I stayed patient and I stepped on it a lot earlier to get the stoppage. If I had done that in that fight the result may have different.
“So, I think I learnt to go through the gears now and that was a good learning curve for me the Bivol fight.”
The Crystal Palace man has already beaten three domestic rivals in his career, including Shakan Pitters who he stopped to become British champion in December 2020, before relinquishing the title.
Richards says if he is to box a British rival there would have to be a major title at stake, but otherwise he is interested in a European title shot, with Mathieu Bauderlique the current champion.
“I’ve beat the domestic guys,” Richards added.
“So for me it’s all about achieving belts, titles and moving forward.
“I wouldn’t mind a European title shot. I’m happy [to] because I haven’t won that yet.
“Anything progressive and moving forward I’m happy to do so.
“It’s not that I don’t want to see a domestic guy again, I just want to have achievements.
“If I’ve got to box a domestic guy for one of my achievements, I’m happy to do so. I don’t just want to box a domestic guy for no reason, it has to be for a reason for me.
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“If it’s something on the line like a world title, it’s a no brainer, where do I sign?”
Richards is rated at four with the WBA and the former world title challenger is keen on another world title shot, with WBO titlist, Joe Smith Jr a future target.
“We both can punch. I believe I’m a better boxer.
“That would definitely be entertaining that clash, it would be good.
“I do rate him, he’s a good fighter, but I definitely believe I’d beat him.”
Watch the full interview with Craig Richards below: