In the build up to the festive period, there was no time for rest or celebration for Craig 'Spider' Richards as he prepared for his fight against Chad Sugden at York Hall on the 19th December. The bout was part of an exciting night of boxing which included the clash between Richard Riakporhe and Jack Massey.
However, much of the talk around the arena was surrounding the fight featuring Richards. The 'Spider' entered the fight as the favourite to win and despite a strong start from his opponent, Richards soon left his mark as Sugden ended the second round with a bloody nose. This saw Richards take the fight to Sugden in the 3rd round but his opponent was not willing to sit back and take punishment without returning a few blows of his own.
This match was quickly turning into a very exciting affair and Sugden, who took the fight at short notice, was performing as if he had nothing to lose. Into the fifth round and Sugden enjoyed a good spell, with plenty of movement and punches which were landing to both the head and body of Richards. However, the 'Spider' was not deterred by his opponent's ability. With his nickname ringing out around York Hall, Richards accuracy soon came to the fore in the 6th round which he controlled with some precise punches.
Into the 8th and final round, both men started to swing punches in the hope they could end the fight before it went to the referees' scorecard. By this stage of the contest, Sugden's eyes were beginning to close and if there was another round to follow, Richards surely would have completed the job. It wasn't to be and to his credit, Sugden showed plenty of determination to hang in there until the final bell.
With both players waiting in the ring for the verdict, Richards was confident he had done enough to seal the victory. It wasn't to be, as a draw was declared to the shock of both Richards and many in the crowd. There is no doubt Sugden put up a good fight but the majority of onlookers were sure that Richards should have taken the win.
Speaking after the fight, Richards said: "Even he [Sugden] said I won. Everyone else could see I won clearly. He's had over 200 kickboxing fights and he gave it a go."
Despite this result being a slight set back for Richards, he remains on course to meet Shakan Pitters in 2020 for the British Light Heavyweight Title. The fight is due to be screened live on Channel 5, meaning those without a subscription service will be able to enjoy seeing the 'Spider' in action this year. It is a rare treat to have high level boxing available to watch live on terrestrial television and this is one fight not to miss as Richards aims to return to his winning ways with a bang.