Backed into a Corner, Wrongfully Incarcerated Boxer begins Comeback
What it's like to have it all and lose it in a matter of moments?
Albany boxer Yathomas Riley knows.
Just years ago, Riley was a 2007 top amateur fighter, a 2008 US Olympic team finalist and as a professional boxer tallied six knockouts on the way to an 8-0 record.
Two years ago, Riley could have been king when the unthinkable happened, disaster struck.
"A horrible tragedyâ|it affected me in the worst way, and my familyâ|and that moment changed my life," Riley said.
In June of 2010, an altercation with then girlfriend, Koketia King, turned bloody at Riley's Miami home. King suffered two gun shot wounds-- the suspect was Riley.
"One time, to be honest with you, I thought he was going to lose it," Riley's father, Julius said.
As evidence clearly mounted and the victim's testimonies were contradicted, it became clear Riley wasn't an attempted murder suspect, in fact, Riley was a victim.
"Nothing ever changed in the case, the facts were the facts from day one, so it was just unbelievable upon unbelievable and even more unbelievable every yearâ|every six months," Riley's fiancÃe, Lisa Amodio said.
730 days in prison, two full years. Riley sat in solitary confinement for a crime he didn't commit.
Boxing was his outlet. Sweating in a prison cell, Riley shadow boxed expecting to be the light heavyweight champion of the world.
"Just being in that type of situationâ|not having the small things in life. It makes you really appreciate them when you come home," Riley said.
On August 17th, 2012, Riley did come home. Released from the Miami-Dade Detention Center and released of all charges. Boxing was back on his mind.
"The first thing I did when I got out is hug my family. Very happy to see the sun shine, so happy to see the sunshine," Riley reflected.
The next move. Riley got back to work.
Riley followed his fiancÃe Lisa Amodio to Albany and began training full time.
Riley's redemption comes May 11th. The light heavyweight returns to the professional ring for the first time since his time in a prison cell.
"I just look at my life and the situation and what I've been throughâ|everybody needs a second chance. Thank God that He gave my second chance," Riley said.
The pain and resentment have subsided, always smiling and always kind, Riley forgives and forgets.
A personality with charm, the champ only wants to prove his worth in the ring.
"I have to prove a lot of things in this society because that's the way it is, so I do have to prove it because I want to be a million dollar fighter, not just an average fighter," Riley said.
With a new passion for life, love and people, nothing can stand in the way of Yathomas Riley.
"He gave us motivation while he was in thereâ|seeing him strong makes us strong," Riley's younger brother, Willie said.
"I think it's going to take one of the best fighters in the world to stop him," Dad said.
"Take advantage of my second chance, I'm running with it, I'm runningâ|can't catch me," Riley said with a smile.