| Sports |

Yathomas Riley, Boxer Freed From Prison by New Times, Returns to the Ring

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

The last time Yathomas Riley stepped through a crowd and into a boxing ring was more than three years ago. The blows he received that day at a Connecticut casino seemed real; the bruises too painful to doubt. But they were child's play compared to the hit he would take two months later. No amount of shadowboxing could prepare him for hell.

Riley, an undefeated light heavyweight from Florida City, was arrested on June 10, 2010, and accused of trying to murder his ex-girlfriend. He was only released two years later thanks to a series of New Times articles that shed doubt on the state's case against him. Tomorrow night Riley will be stepping back into the ring to fight for the first time in upstate New York. But does he still have what it takes?

"I'm a knockout artist," he says. "So you can't say nothing until that day you see me take a loss."

See also:

- Boxer Yathomas Riley: Beast or Victim?

Floyd Mayweather stunned boxing commentators by handily winning his comeback bout last weekend after spending two months in jail.

Riley spent two years behind bars. Like Mayweather, however, the boxer nicknamed "The Beast" believes that his stint inside has only made him better.

"I think I got faster and more powerful," he says. "Now we've got to see if that statement is really true."

"My hand speed really got faster from shadowboxing in jail," something he would do for hours at a time in his cell on the edge of the Everglades, Riley says. "Kids just do it for the warm up. But I do it for 30-40 minutes. Now I take it to the extreme because I know how important it is."

Riley says boxing -- and his fiance Lisa Amodio -- has been his bridge over the chasm of his incarceration.

But things haven't been easy since his August 17 release. His oldest brother, Wendell Lester, recently died of a suspected cocaine overdose. He was only 36 years old.

"He was one of the people that I used to talk to at night before a fight," Riley says. "He died at some girl's house. She said he was alive when she went to work and when she came home, he was dead."

Riley hasn't been able to forget the night everything wrong, either. He has hired an attorney who is currently crafting a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County over his wrongful imprisonment (His case had yet to go to trial when he was released).

He says he is "taking things more seriously" now than before his arrest. The first thing Riley will have to take seriously is his opponent, Lionell Thompson (13-2-0). Thompson has only lost twice and should be a stiff first challenge.

"I'm taking every little thing that I thought wasn't important and making it important," Riley says of his training.

Instead of putting boxing in perspective, his ordeal has made him double-down on the sport.

"This is what I do for a living," Riley says. "This is how I eat. This is how my family is going to eat."

It sounds like The Beast is back and hungrier than ever.

Yathomas Riley fights Saturday night, May 11, at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York.

See also:

- New Times Frees Boxer Yathomas Riley, Jailed for Two Years Without Trial

- New Times Story Casts Doubt on Boxer Yathomas Riley's Attempted Murder Charge

- Yathomas Riley Attempted Murder Case: Bloody Letter Bolsters Boxer's Appeal

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.