On the May 1, Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (16-2-1, 9KOs) showed the world his ability to fight on the world stage. Although his opponent, WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (18-0, 11KOs), came out on top via a points decision, Richards displayed world-class boxing.
BBN spoke to him recently to find out what he thought about the biggest fight of his six-year career, how he was recovering from it, and what the future holds in store.
“I have just been resting the body. I am not really liking it. I just want to get back on it,” said the 31-year-old. “I am starting to tick over now though I haven’t started again properly yet. In a couple of weeks I will go back into camp.”
The Crystal Palace puncher is experienced enough to realise the necessity of some time off after a punishing 12-rounds. He told us that his body was pushed to the limit and not giving himself time to recover would have been disastrious.
“I did get to see some of my family. It was good because I didn’t really great to see anyone during training.”
The Londoner rightly takes a lot of positivity and encouragement from his excellent performance at the highest level against a long-reigning undefeated world champion.
“When you get to world level, they hit harder, they are stronger, and their fitness is better,” he revealed. “All my questions had been answered by the second half of the fight and I was able to press a bit more.
“I showed my endurance, he began to fade towards the end but I was always coming on more. I think I could have carried on for a few more rounds.
“I showed good punch resistance in the early rounds. Bivol punches early and I got caught a few times, but it had zero effect on me. It shows my chin is world-class.
“I thought I was ahead, which became the difference in the fight. I picked up the gears about a round too late and could not recover points from the previous rounds.”
Any large step-up in competition level is an opportunity to learn. Richards has taken this opportunity. He hopes to bring a similar approach of gruelling training in the months leading up to future fights.
“I showed that my training worked 100%. To go better than the world champion towards the end of the fight showed the strength of my training.”
On the subject of plans for his next training camp, it appears an announcement for what's next could be imminent.
“Spoken about a couple of good opportunities that have been offered to me already,” he loosely revealed. “We just need to get things arranged.”
Craig took the opportunity to thank his supporters and sponsors when asked if he had any final thoughts on the fight.
“I am really grateful and thankful to my sponsors for really helping me and supporting me, they are much more than just a sponsor.”
Richards has been giving back to his sponsor and community by getting involved with an exciting new gym that is being set up by his sponsor, Lewis Access.
The gym will give back to the local community. A trainer will be on site to work with children that have been referred by local charities every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Craig is looking forward to dropping by and helping out at the gym as often as his own schedule allows. Like many boxers, Richards is looking forward to passing on his knowledge to children who will benefit from this type of mentorship and training.