Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Yathomas Riley knows what its like to have his back against the wall. He knows what its like to have most of the world betting against him.
Riley, who spent two years in jail, without ever going to trial on a charge that was eventually dismissed, will finally be able to exorcise some demons when he steps into the ring for the first time since April 4, 2010 on Saturday night to take on Lionell Thompson (13-2, 9 KOs) in the co-main event at “Rockin Fights 8” at the Paramount Theater in Huntington.
“It’s very overwhelming and exciting,” said Riley (8-0, 6 KOs). “But I’m ready to get back in the mix.”
Riley said he never lost focus and never wavered from his goal of winning a world title.
“I was training even when I was in [jail], because I knew I was coming home,” said Riley, who was charged with attempted murder in Homestead, Fl. “I knew I was innocent. It was just a matter of time.”
Riley was accused of trying to kill his then-girlfriend Koketia King. He was released after two years on August 17, 2012.
But how would his time behind bars affect his boxing career? Mike Tyson spent three years in prison and wasn’t the same when he was released. Floyd Mayweather Jr., on the other hand, did two months, but didn’t miss a beat and dominated Robert Guerrero.
“Of course it’s going to be hard,” Riley said of resuming his career. “But behind every successful person there is a story.”
Now that his legal problems are behind him, Riley is totally focused on perfecting himself in the ring. He started back on that track as soon as he got out. “As soon as I got home I was back in the gym sparring with Glen Johnson,” said Riley.
In addition to resuming his boxing career, Riley, 30, also opened up a gym in his hometown, “Riley’s Boxing Gym”.
“This is what I was born to do,” said Riley, who didn't begin boxing until he was 21. “I started late, but I was good at it.”
With a national PAL title and a Golden Gloves championship under his belt, RIley is convinced he's can climb the light heavyweight ladder.
"[Thompson's] coming to fight," said Riley. "But I'm coming to whip his butt."