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Viddal Riley: ‘Don’t feel pressure to do what others are doing’

Viddal Riley
JC Olivera/Getty Images
Matt Christie speaks to Viddal Riley, a fighter eager to feed his ‘landmark habit’

When and why you started boxing:
I started at six years old. My dad used to box and he came in the living room and saw me ‘boxing’. He said I had natural ability, that we should hone and practice it, and make it even better.

Favourite all-time fighter:
Roy Jones Jnr, for sure. He could do things that I’ve never seen anyone do. And he did all those things while ruling the sport, expressing himself at the highest level. Fighting with so much personality puts him at the top of my list.

Personal career highlight:
Fighting at MGM Grand on the Pacquiao-Broner undercard. A big opportunity in my second fight and I scored the only KO of the night. It was early in the day, though. Next time I fight there I could with a few more people in the crowd.

Toughest opponent:
At pro level, my third fight was tough against Austine Nnamdi, who was a last-minute replacement. I’d spent eight weeks preparing for a pressure fighter and then I fight someone who didn’t want to commit.

Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best would be speed. Worst would be experience, at least at professional level. I haven’t had much time under the bright lights, at least not yet.

Training tip:
Always train for yourself, don’t feel pressure to do what others are doing. Everyone is different, you have to do what is best for you and what brings out the best in you.

Favourite meal/restaurant:
I’m greedy so I have quite a few. It’s too hard to pick just one.

Best friends in boxing:
There’s no one that comes to my house. But I try and keep a good energy with everybody. I respect everyone I meet in boxing.

Other sportsperson you would like to be:
Tom Brady. Very consistent and wasn’t projected to do well but ended up being the best quarterback ever. I look up to him and use him as motivation.

Last film/TV show you saw:
It has to be one of the Rocky films, because I do go back and watch them all the time.

Who would play you in a film of your life:
A young Denzel Washington or a young Will Smith. But there’s a long way to go before that happens!

Last time you cried:
June. I can’t say what made me cry. A bit of crying is healthy.

Best advice received:
Don’t value other people’s opinions too much. Always believe in yourself, and not worry about what others say. It’s too easy to get caught up with other people’s opinions in this day and age.

Something not many people know about you:
I have a big interest in landmarks. Any country that I visit, I have to visit the landmarks. But with the pandemic, it’s been a while since I could feed my landmark habit.

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