From one Olympian to another. ATT's Howard Davis Jr., a 1976 Olympic boxing gold medal winner, holds mitts for 2004 Judo Olympian Rhadi Ferguson. Davis will be in Ferguson's corner. Photo credit: Jack Bratcher for
Undefeated light heavyweight Dr. Rhadi Ferguson (2-0) has a new opponent for his “Strikeforce Challengers 13” main card bout which will air live on Showtime Friday night, Jan. 7, at 11 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT (delayed on West Coast).

The 2004 Olympian will now face John Richard (3-1) of Camden, S.C., after his originally scheduled opponent, Ion Cherdivara of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, reportedly had visa problems.

Richard (pronounced “ruh-shard”) is a 6-foot-1, 28-year-old former Limestone College wrestler who has finished all three of his victories in the first round. In his most recent bout, on Oct. 23, he choked out Steven Banks in just 1:19 into the bout, and prior to that, on Aug. 28 he choked out Ryan Bedini at 3:38 into the fight.

Richard has been fighting at heavyweight but will be dropping to 205-pounds for this fight. He commented on the change in weight,

“In my last couple fights I was outweighed by 30-40 pounds, so getting back down to 205 is a big deal for me,’’ Richard said. “I’m really looking forward to fighting at this weight and excited to get the opportunity to step up and showcase my skills. I’m extremely grateful to STRIKEFORCE for getting this chance. You’ll see. At 205, I’m one of the biggest and strongest at this weight around.’’

Richard does not seem intimidated by the prospect of facing an Olympian or fighting on the big stage. He explained,

“I know about my opponent, but I’m in fighting shape and as ready as I can be. I will definitely not be in awe of him or the atmosphere. In fact, I am totally calm. I’m strong on the ground and I feel my stand-up is decent. I am looking forward to a great fight.’’

Strikeforce deserves credit for finding a replacement for Cherdivara on such short notice and Richard should be applauded for accepting the bout. Ferguson is an exciting prospect and a bigger, taller and younger Richard is going to be a good test for the Doctor.

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