The 20-year-old got the British taekwondo team's campaign underway in Puebla in Mexico in the -74kg category and won his first three fights, including defeat of Canadian world No.1 Maxime Potvin.
He then faced home hope Uriel Adriano in the quarter-finals but, one win away from the semi-finals and a guaranteed bronze, he lost 4-0 in front of partisan Mexican crowd.
Richards appeared to have landed a reverse head shot in the second round, which would have given him a 4-3 lead at that stage, however, after a lengthy video review, the referee disagreed.
The British fighter was adamant it connected however Richards insists he exited the competition in Mexico full of belief that he showed his true colours throughout.
"I definitely thought it hit and when I looked at the replay I was sure it hit," said Richards. "But the referees decided the other way and there's nothing I could do about it.
"It was obviously tough getting Mexico in the quarters. I don't think he fought better than me and I felt I was scoring points but decisions weren't going my way.
"I beat some good players including the top seed and I don't think I had a bad fight, including that quarter-final match. It's just the way taekwondo goes sometimes."
- Sports & Recreation
- Uriel Adriano