Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze recently swapped the football pitch for a boxing ring as he trained with WBA International light-heavyweight champion Craig Richards.

‘Spider’ is currently preparing to defend his title against the undefeated Olympic bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi at the O2 Arena in London on 21 May.

Richards and Eze enjoyed their time training together

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Richards and Eze enjoyed their time training together

Richards, who pushed Canelo Alvarez conqueror Dmitry Bivol all the way in 2021, took some time out from his fight camp to put the Premier League footballer through his paces.

Long-time boxing fan Eze was delighted to be learning from one of the best.

“I always wanted to come and see boxing training and see what it’s like. I know it’s different to football. So, we sort of organised it at church really and I came here today,” he told Matchroom Boxing.

“I’ve done a bit of boxing just at the training ground, on the pads and stuff like that but this is the first time doing something serious like this and it’s not a game.

The 23-year-old is hoping his tough training session with Richards will put him in a good place as he tries to help Crystal Palace finish their Premier League season with a flourish.

Eze bravely decided to throw some punches at his pro boxer coach

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Eze bravely decided to throw some punches at his pro boxer coach

Richards has fought Dmitry Bivol and now has Josh Buatsi up next

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Richards has fought Dmitry Bivol and now has Josh Buatsi up next

“It’s completely different to football and I don’t think you can actually prepare for it unless you come to a place like this,” Eze said. “So, it was a good day today, hard work and hopefully it puts me in good stead when I go back to training.”

Eze’s career took a hit when he suffered an Achilles injury in training in May 2021, just moments before discovering he would’ve been in England’s provisional Euros squad.

The youngster has started just 14 games in all competitions this season for Palace but now appears to be finding his feet again and has been pivotal to Patrick Vieira’s side’s recent run of good form.

Eze joined the Selhurst Park side from Queens Park Rangers for £16 million in the summer of 2020. The London-born prospect scored four goals and six assists in his debut Premier League campaign.

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