Viddal Riley is the former standout amateur now based in Vegas and ready to fight in Dubai, he tells Danny Flexen
The harder Viddal Riley works, the luckier he gets. After the 21-year-old Londoner capitalised on a chance meeting to begin his professional career under respected trainer Jeff Mayweather in Las Vegas, now he will feature prominently on Knockout Night, the debut promotion for former world champion Badou Jack that takes place in Dubai. It goes down on May 3 at FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, from 4pm (UK), 11am (ET) and 8am (PT), and can be viewed via Fite.tv for a fee. Cruiserweight Riley, a decorated junior amateur, is just 2-0 as a pro but faces locally based Iranian Mohammad Ali Bayat Farid, 12-1-1 (12), on the show. He is understandably excited. “My next opponent is a big step up,” Riley concedes. “From 14 fights he’s only lost one and all of his victories have come by knockout. It’s a step up for someone in their third fight but it doesn’t faze me. “It’s gonna be a spectatcle, he’s been UAE Fighter of the Year so within his region he’s the best. A lot of people will view this as an upset, a two-fight novice beating a seasoned pro. But I will show there is a reason why we chose this guy and why I’m gonna be a name to be reckoned with.” Riley’s place on the big card was secured by Amer Abdallah, the influential manager he shares with Jack, who was last seen suffering a horrific cut against Marcus Browne. His own relationship with Abdallah all stems from that first, opportune meeting with Jeff Mayweather. “Jeff originally saw me in the Mayweather gym, sparring, doing pad work and was impressed with my work ethic,” Viddal, who also trained YouTube sensation KSI for his match with Logan Paul, recalls. “He put my name forward to Amir. It was a very random opportunity but it happened at the right time. I was in Vegas on vacation but obviously being a boxer I’m gonna want to visit the Mayweather Gym. I just done my thing, put no pressure on myself and managed to get an opportunity. This was in March last year, and by June we was in LA and they came down to get an interview with me and discuss turning pro.” Riley made that step in November and has outclassed his first two opponents, wiping them out in a combined 112 seconds. Perhaps that should come as no surprise given he won around eight national titles as a junior amateur, was a Team GB rep at the 2014 Youth Olympics and took silver at the European Juniors. He made the switch to the paid code after around seven senior bouts, a bold move but one that looks to be paying off thus far. “It’s exciting to be on a fight in Dubai,” he concludes. “There are not many big cards out there, and it’s amazing to be on something live streamed, with a lot of special guests too.”
*Thumbnail image: Keaton Ward.