Chris Billam-Smith vs. Richard Riakporhe: Repeat Or Revenge?

By James Slater - 01/21/2024 - Comments

An all-British cruiserweight encounter that will contest the WBO title has been announced, with reigning WBO 200-pound champ Chris Billam-Smith to make the second defense of his belt against the only man to have beaten him at the pro level, this being the undefeated Richard Riakporhe. Promoter Ben Shalom has confirmed the fight will take place, the date and location still to be confirmed but with both fighters having signed on the dotted line.

“That’s a fight that both parties have signed to fight,” Shalom said to Sky Sports, who will televise the fight. “It’s a mandatory fight, and it’s guaranteed to happen next. Another huge fight in British boxing.”

This one will almost certainly prove entertaining. Billam-Smith, who suffered a cut in his last fight, this a stoppage win over Mateusz Maternak last month, and is healing up, he won the WBO title with a close decision win over Lawrence Okolie back in May of last year. It was in July of 2019 when Billam-Smith lost a split decision to Riakporhe, this in his tenth pro fight. Billam-Smith has come on a lot since then, and he is anxious to wipe away the sole blot on his 19-1(13) record.

Riakporhe, 17-0(13) and the older man by a year at age 34, has also come on a lot since beating Billam-Smith in what was also his tenth pro outing. Looked at by some as the best cruiserweight contender in the UK right now, “The Midnight Train” has won his last five fights by stoppage, and he is confident he will be able to inflict damage on Billam-Smith.

This one should prove lively, and though the first fight between these two went the distance, the same may not be true of the rematch. Billam-Smith, known as “The Gentleman,” is the defending world champion, but Riakporhe is the pick to win here. Billam-Smith is tough and he will no doubt take some shifting, but the reigning WBO champ showed in the Masternak fight that he is not all that hard to hit. Riakporhe can crack, and the thinking here is, the challenger will get through and hit and hurt Billam-Smith at some stage, perhaps even quite early in the fight.

Riakporhe by mid-rounds stoppage is the pick here. What say YOU?