October has been a crazy month for light heavyweight boxer Craig ‘Spider’ Richards and it culminated in a big fight showdown with British light heavyweight champion, Frank Buglioni.
Not only was this an opportunity for Richards to win the British light heavyweight title but it was also a chance to show boxing fans what he could do in the ring. This wasn’t your standard night of British boxing, this was the undercard of World Heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.
There were over 80,000 people packed inside the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to witness the fight and many more watching on Sky Box Office around the world. This was the big time and a huge chance for Richards to launch himself to a truly worldwide audience.
In most cases, Richards would have been building up to a fight like this for many months. Using a special training regime, not only suited to what he wanted to achieve in the fight but also to work against what his opponent wanted to try and do in the ring.
Unfortunately for Richards, he did not have enough time to prepare properly for such a big occasion.
Just one week prior to this fight in Cardiff, Richards was boxing in Belfast on the Ryan Burnett vs Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard, which was another fight taken at short notice. Richards stepped up and delivered the goods, winning the fight in 3 rounds.
So, not only did Richards know about the fight in Cardiff with under one week to prepare, having met Eddie Hearn by chance to arrange the fight, he was also trying to recover from a bout the week before.
However, Richards did not shy away from the chance to showcase his boxing talent in-front of so many fans and accepted the fight with Buglioni, after his original opponent was forced to withdraw.
Richards knew he was going to be up against it in the early rounds and Buglioni took the fight to the man from Crystal Palace.
The defending champion was attempting to land heavy shots early in the fight. This forced Richards back, who was living on his counter-punching, trying to find a way through while sucking up everything Buglioni was throwing at him.
The second round was costly for Richards, who found himself pinned to the ropes for long periods of time, having to absorb punches from his opponent. Having weathered the storm, Richards started to stamp his authority on the fight and landed some excellent punches in the third round, some of which shook Buglioni.
The fight went back and forth, with neither man willing to step down as punches started to be exchanged regularly as the fight wore on. However, it was Buglioni who was landing most of the scoring punches and his experience came to the fore in the latter rounds.
As the final bell went, Richards found himself where he started the fight, up against the ropes with Buglioni unleashing shots hoping to land the one which made the difference. He did not land the winning blow but did manage to retain his title thanks to a unanimous decision on the score cards.
Many onlookers claimed it was the fight of the night and with just one weeks’ notice, Richards did superbly to take the champion to 12 rounds.
Yes, it is the first loss of his career but this fight proved Craig ‘Spider’ Richards is a boxer to be feared, who will return to the ring even better for the experience.
Photo: Craig ‘Spider’ Richards