The Sweet Science returned in a major way in February, big fights and breakthrough performances were all over the pace. In a fight that ended a long-reigning feud between two over-the-hill veterans, it featured many, high-level prospects. Among those prospects was a 24-year-old unbeaten cruiserweight prospect from London, England, Viddal Riley. Riley displayed high-level skill and speed in a division that is typically dominated by punchers. After two years away from the ring and In a major step up fight, he outclassed Namibian veteran Willbeforce Shihepo over six one-sided rounds to score a career-best win, propel himself in the wide-open Cruiserweight title picture, move his record to 5-0 (2), and take home our Prospect of the Month award for February.
Being away from the ring for two-years Riley wanted to not only put on a show and remind the boxing world just how skilled of a big man he is and wanted to get off to a fast start against the veteran Shihepo. He did just that scoring with a right uppercut in the opening stanza that nearly took his opponent’s head off and put him on the canvas. However, the young Londoner stayed calm. He didn’t get overeager and stayed behind the jab following up with a left hook and staying in control. The rest of the fight was a masterpiece and saw the 24-year-old Controlling his opponent with his jab setting up right-hands and snuffing out any return fire. Another right hand a minute into the second hurt the Namibian. Riley got it going again with a big left hook to the head in the fifth. He continued to break out all of the tools in the toolbox. Mixing up head and body shots and controlling every moment of the fight on his way to taking a 60-53 decision.
The Cruiserweight division often gets overlooked in the US, ignored, and passed over for the bigger heavyweights. However, the division is loaded with talent, particularly in the UK. “The Sauce” Lawrence Okolie currently holds the WBO title and looks to be perhaps the best fighter in the division, but there are other elite-level fighters from the UK such as the undefeated Richard Riakporhe as well as Chris Billiam Smith and Tommy McCarthy. All of them should be in the sights of Riley and will hopefully get made in the not-so-distant future. For now, the younger should continue to step up and stay active. Build up the resume and get rounds in. Riley is a star in the making, as a musician, he has over two million followers across his social media channels. He’s not a gimmick, however. His skills are real he has a deep amateur pedigree, he was a part of Team GB as an amateur. The skills and the personality are all there to make him not only a star but a world title contender in the very near future.