Undefeated British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion Lerrone Richards (13-0, 3KOs) defends his Lonsdale belt for the first time to challenger Umar Sadiq (10-1, 6KOs).
The pair will do battle in the BT Sport Studios in Stratford on a Queensberry Promotions event, televised live on BT Sport.
Both boxers enter the contest with momentum and good wins behind them. ‘Top Boxer’ Sadiq scored a fine win over unbeaten Kody Davies (10-0) in a British title eliminator in February this year, and ‘Sniper the Boss’ triumphed over undefeated Lennox Clarke (19-0-1) in November last year.
The defending champion won the Commonwealth title against former British and Commonwealth middleweight champ Tommy Langford (21-3) in his penultimate fight, then added the British in his last fight against another Birmingham boxer, Clarke, which were his only two fights in 2019.
The challenger fought a whopping six times in 2019 to rebuild from his sole career loss to stablemate Zak Chelli (4-0) in 2018, where the unbeaten pair had a thrilling shootout resulting in Sadiq hitting the deck in the sixth round of the eight-round contest.
Now, Sadiq takes on yet another unbeaten stablemate behind closed doors during Frank Warren’s summer season of shows.
27-year-old Richards has 75 professional rounds under his belt, a third more than 31-year-old Sadiq, who is more known for scoring knockouts. At least five of his fights were finished before the midway point and he boasts six KOs from 10 wins. Richards is less of a puncher with just three KOs from 13 wins.
Training out of the Peacock Gym in London, Umar is an all-round fine boxer, with a bit of everything in his locker after a stellar amateur career, where he narrowly missed out on representing Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He won the prestigious Haringey Box Cup twice as an amateur and has put his career as an accountant on hold while he fulfils his dream of becoming British champion.
He likes to throw punches in bunches to head and body. He is also rangy, just like Lerrone, so the pair could begin the fight with a battle of jabs.
He tucks up well when under attack, but when he throws out his counter-hooks from under his tight guard, they will very likely hit air when in against the quality of Richards, who will land his shots then abruptly disappear again.
His lengthy arms allows him to whip in body shots from at range, but his style means that he is quite open a lot of the time. He hasn't yet been the 12-round championship distance in his career.
New Malden’s Lerrone Richards is a master at range. He fights at the right distance to suit his style where he can flash out his fast jabs and one-twos. When his opponents try to close the gap, they get greeted with a southpaw-stance right hook to the left of their head.
Trained by Alan Smith and Eddie Lamm out of the thriving iBox Gym in Bromley, he is patient and skilled, with great feet and movement. Because he boxes on the outside at range and mostly on the backfoot, he doesn’t generate the power to really hurt his foes, although he does wear them down over the rounds and cause them to look ragged. That’s probably due to them persistently chasing him around the ring all fight.
He does have a tendency to showboat and drop his right arm down low when he feels he’s in control, which he mostly is during his fights.
He very rarely puts more than two or three punches together at a time, which causes some critics to call him lazy.
Even in the final round, Richards will still be skipping around the ring popping out his jab and one-twos and looking as fresh as the first round.
Just like Sadiq, he was also an amateur champion, winning nine national titles when representing Repton, amassing a fine record of 82-9.
Lennox Clarke kind of laid the blueprint for success against Richards by showing that persistence and doggedness works against the slick southpaw. He managed to win on one of the three judges’ cards but the other two scores of 117-112 and 116-113 against were more indicative of the contest. It was ‘raging bull vs matador’, with Clarke pressing forwards but persistently pot-shotted by the stylish operator.
Sadiq is a completely different fighter to Clarke but he will have enough in his locker to trouble Richards during their fight. He’s rangy, sharp, skilled and schooled, and should make it an evenly-contested fight.
I just feel that Richards’ vaster experience at this level, having beaten the likes of Tommy Langford and Lennox Clarke in his previous two championship fights, will give him the advantage.
Langford and Clarke were two completely different boxers bringing different styles and difficulties, but Richards always manages to make the fight his own, dictating the pace and picking off his victims from afar.
His inability, or perhaps refusal, to kill off a fight means that he is always likely to go the full distance. I believe that he will win a close decision on points.