Is former nine time national junior champion Lerrone Richards the best kept secret in British boxing?
Over the past quarter of a century, his veteran coach Alan Smith has schooled three British champions plus a WBU titlist from his iBox facility in Bromley. Nevertheless, he tells Glynn Evans that, in terms of sheer talent, none compare to ‘The Sniper’ who resurfaces in a six rounder on Frank Warren’s monster Copper Box Arena promotion on September 16th.
“I’ve been coaching for over 25 years now and I have to say Lerrone is the most gifted boxer I’ve worked with.
Iain Weaver, Tom Saunders (Billy Joe’s elder brother) and Bradley Skeete were all very blessed but Lerrone’s ring generalship is second to none. He’s such an intelligent fighter, very clever at manoeuvring opponents to exactly where he wants them.
For me as a coach, balance is everything and Lerrone’s is fantastic. He’s also blessed with a fantastic jab, and every shot in the book. He never panics under pressure and his footwork and judgement of distance are incredible.
His stamina is much improved and he’s also blessed with that granite chin that all the Ghanaians have. Tony Burns, the old Repton Head Coach who’s trained hundreds of champions, once said that Lerrone was among the most gifted he’d ever had ….and anyone familiar with Tony knows he never compliments anyone!
Unfortunately, in this age of social media sledging, Lerrone is a bit ‘normal’! He works in Tescos, spends his spare time bowling, at the pictures or bingo, and is the type to carry old ladies shopping bags. He’s just a very nice, humble boy. But he’s not remotely fazed about who he spars. He sighs when I put him in with a lesser kid.
Before, whilst he was seeing out his previous contract, Lerrone was employed as a paid sparring partner to the likes of Chris Eubank, George Groves, Andy Lee, Billy Joe Saunders, Tommy Langford, even Tony Bellew. Today, he spars the very best guys on his own terms, as an equal. Now he has confidence that he never had before. Whereas once he’d have struggled to last three rounds with George, he’s recently been giving as good as he gets for nine.
Already, behind closed door, everybody on the circuit is talking about how talented Lerrone is. Unfortunately, Lerrone got given a ‘small hall deal’ when he joined the pros because he doesn’t shift a lot of tickets. Then he had a contractual dispute which brought two years inactivity and he became ‘The Forgotten Man’.
But Francis Warren took an instant shine to him and I know the Warrens will develop him. Now it’s time to get the public on board, beat a notable fighter, set the fans alight. The purists will all love him but he needs to start peeling back some layers, going through the gears, punching THROUGH the target.
Trouble is, none of the other unbeaten kids will touch him. He’s become Chairman of the ‘Who Needs Him’ Club. Bradley (Skeete) was the same coming through. Now Brad has a title, everyone’s queuing to fight him.
(Reigning English Super-Middleweight Champion) Darryll Williams is a former stable mate who left us on amicable terms but I’d not hesitate in matching Lerrone with him tomorrow. Ditto Jahmaine Smyle, Lennox Clarke or Lyon McKenzie.
Thus far, Lerrone’s only fought six rounders but we’ll fight anyone at Southern Area or English level. We’ve approached five or six top English kids to fight us on at the Copper Box. They all flatly said ‘No!’
I strongly believe Lerrone’s got all the attributes required to win a world title. It’s all about the ABC. Ability. Breaks. Courage. He’s got A and C in abundance. Now he just needs the B!”
Billy Joe Saunders makes the second defence of his WBO Middleweight World title against Willie Monroe Jr in the evening’s main event; Ilford Light-Heavy powerhouse Anthony Yarde fights for the Vacant WBO Inter-Continental Title; teenage Heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois takes on AJ Carter for the Vacant Southern Area strap in only his fifth contest; knockout artist Joe Pigford fights for the Vacant WBO European Super-Welterweight title.
Some of the very best up-and-coming prospects in the country including Welling Super-Featherweight Archie Sharp; Ilford Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid; Fulham Super-Middleweight Zak Chelli and Erith Flyweight Jake Pettit feature. Ilford Welterweight Hamza Sheeraz, Tamworth Light-Heavyweight Ryan Hatton and Ilford Super-Middleweight Umar Sadiq all make their highly-anticipated pro debuts.
Tickets for Saunders vs. Monroe Jr priced at £40, £50, £70, £100, £150, £200 and £250 (VIP/Hospitality) are available from www.eventim.co.uk