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Craig ‘Spider’ Richards is delighted he was able to “flip the script” in becoming British light-heavyweight champion on Friday December 18, 2020.
Richards of Crystal Palace won the title with a thrilling knockout victory over Birmingham’s Shakan Pitters on the final UK show of the year promoted by Hennessy Sports in Redditch, Worcestershire.
Richards floored Pitters in the fourth round with a big right hook and showed incredible speed and movement throughout the fight, finally ending the bout in the ninth with a left hook flush on the chin.
Richards said: “I’ve been waiting a long time for this. I always said I wanted to close it out and get the knockout and everything I wanted to happen happened. I’m delighted.”
In the build-up to the fight, Richards continuously promised to knock the champion out and claim the title for the first time. He did exactly that.
He said: “I said multiple times in the build-up that I wasn’t letting it go to points and that It wasn’t going the distance. I proved that right and I couldn’t be happier, it was the perfect night.”
Richards was quite a large underdog going into the fight, considering Pitters had swept aside Chad Sugden to win the title, the same man who gave him some trouble in a fight in December 2019 that ended as a draw.
On top of that, Pitters had a considerable size advantage over Richards.
However, he always remained confident and trusted his ability, saying before the fight: “I don’t believe it will be an upset when I beat Pitters. I’m a better fighter than him, I’ve boxed at a higher level and I’m just going out to get the job done.
“Unlike Pitters, I’ve been an underdog. I’ve been out of my depth. There’s a lot he’s still not been through. I know how to handle a crisis. He doesn’t.”
Richards’ inclination was right. When crisis struck in the ninth round Pitters lost his way and Richards jumped on the opportunity and completed the upset.
This is nothing new to Richards, as he says he has been an underdog before, and he thrives off the pressure.
He said: “I was always confident. My career has been about ripping up the script. This was my third title fight and I ripped the script up for those two and I knew I’d do the same again. Being an underdog doesn’t faze me.”
This fight has been over a year in the making, as it was originally scheduled for December 19 2019 and has gone through various cancellations and postponements, the most recent being when Pitters withdrew drew to an injury suffered in training in November.
After the fight was rescheduled, Richards was angry.
He said at the time: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out about the reschedule. He’d been saying he’d never pull out of a fight and that he fights people regardless of anything.
“I was so shocked with it being so close to the fight. Last time I was too sick to get out of bed and we had to reschedule he was saying it’s all a part of camp and we all get little injuries and niggles and now look.
“He’s cut his nose in sparring and he says he can’t fight.”
He could have easily let the delays get to him, but he stayed focused on his goal of becoming champion.
“It’s nice when all the work pays off when you’ve been grinding so hard for so long to reach this moment. When you start seeing results for all that work it feels great.
“There were times when it felt like the fight would never happen so to sit here and to be able to say I am champion, it’s nice.
“I can’t thank Lewis Access scaffold towers enough for all they do for me as my sponsor and for being on this journey with me. I really appreciate everything they do for me.”