‘Spider’ Richards returns with bang to take out Boris ‘The Blade’

Former world light-heavyweight title challenger Craig ‘Spider’ Richards, fighting for the first time with new trainer Shane McGuigan in his corner, shed 21 months of ring rust with an impressive seventh-round win over well-travelled Boris ‘The Blade’ Crighton

“It felt good to be back,” said Richards, who has been with McGuigan and the new team for a couple of months. “It’s the longest I’ve been out amateur or pro, I wanted to get the rounds but when I saw I had him hurt I knew I had to get the knockout. On to bigger fights now.”

Richards got behind his jab early on at London’s Indigo Arena at the O2, looking relaxed and poised, with Crighton looking to time right hands over the top. Both landed some decent rights in the third but it was Richards’s left hand that was dictating terms.

Crighton was fit, strong and game and he kept marching forwards through the fourth-round and he had more success with that right hand in the fifth but in the seventh Richards broke through with straight shots and suddenly Crighton was back-pedalling for the first time. 

Then, as Richards bombed forwards, he dumped Crighton onto the deck with a right hand and left hook. Richards made it back to his feet and referee Howard Foster allowed him to box on, but Richards didn’t need a second invitation and as Richards went through the gears he crashed home two right hands, letting the leather fly. 

Richards is now 17-3-1 (10 KOs), while Crighton, now 12-5 (7 KOs), had previously been outscored by Lyndon Arthur and Callum Simpson. Time of the stoppage was 2-52 of the seventh when Crighton’s corner waved the towel to call Richards off their man.

Crighton doesn’t do easy fights, while Richards gave WBA king Dmitrii Bivol a tough night back in 2021. It was Richards’s first fight since losing to Joshua Buatsi in May 2022.

Jamie Moore-trained Cameron Vuong, from Northumberland, took a good look at Birmingham lightweight Ishmael Ellis, 14-7 (0), but by round four seemed to have his measure. 

Fast-handed Vuong, now 4-0 (3), had a few impressive moments early on and was too rapid of hand and foot for Ellis, who was bleeding from the nose by the fifth, to cope with. In the sixth, as Vuong pressed his advantage, referee Bob Williams stepped in to spare Ellis further punishment. 

In a clash of unbeaten super-flyweights, Watford’s Shannon “Kaos” Ryan improved to 7-0 (0) with a brisk 10-round points win over Jasmina Zapotocczn, who is now 6-1 (0). Zapotocczna was born in Poland but lives in Wakefield in England, is 29-years-old.

Ryan, aged 27, was cut following an eighth-round headclash and prospect Maisey Rose was ringside with an eye on fighting the winner. Scores were 98-93, 96-94 and 96-94 in a close, competitive fight.

In the opener on the main DAZN broadcast, lanky cruiserweight prospect John Hedges improved to 9-0, with three early wins, following a second-round victory over Hamburg-based Kosovan Erdogan Kadrija after 2-36 of the session.

The 6ft 5in southpaw, from Essex nicknamed ‘The Gentleman’, trained by Mark Tibbs and only 21-years-old, whipped in a quality left hand high on the head of the visitor, who was dropped flat on his back and counted out by referee Howard Foster. Kadrija, aged 37, is now 20-5 (12 KOs).

Earlier in the evening, middleweight debutant Jack Oliphant outscored Jensen Irving over four rounds, Birmingham’s 3-0 lightweight Ibraheem Sulaimaan stopped 4-1-1 Frenchman Jordan Patrick Tomasoni in the fourth-round and Germany’s heavyweight Emanuel Odiase is now 2-0 following a six-round win over Belgian Amine Boucetta, who dropped to 8-10.