Richard Riakporhe says he will ‘batter’ Chris Billam-Smith and fulfil dreams of becoming world champion | Boxing News

Richard Riakporhe has warned Chris Billam-Smith he will be sharing the ring with a ‘salivating Hyena’ when the pair collide for the WBO world cruiserweight title at Selhurst Park on June 15.

The duo will meet for the second time in the ring when Billam-Smith defends his cruiserweight crown against Riakporhe, who emerged victorious via split decision in their first clash back in 2019.

Billam-Smith became champion in May 2023 when he defeated British rival Lawrence Okolie in a majority decision win in front of his home fans at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. This time, he steps into Riakporhe’s back yard as the south Londoner takes centre stage at the home of his beloved Crystal Palace.

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Watch the best moments from Riakporhe’s win over Billam-Smith by split decision in 2019

“I’m really happy, finally my dream has come true, not just to fight for a world title but to fight at Selhurst Park,” Riakporhe told Sky Sports.

“It’s unbelievable, I’m looking forward to putting on a show for the fans and keeping the title in south London. The only thing that’s going to be derailed is Chris Billam-Smith.

“He’s got experience, he’s world champion, he has the title but I’ve got hunger, will and he’s fighting a salivating Hyena that hasn’t eaten for a week. It’s going to be a tough fight for Chris Billam-Smith.”

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Highlights of Billam-Smith’s stoppage win over Mateusz Masternak to retain his world title

Riakporhe had previously predicted a first-round knockout against Billam-Smith, and didn’t shirk plans for a stoppage finish as the fight was announced on Tuesday.

“Chris Billam-Smith likes to talk a lot and sometimes I see things pop up on the feed, if I see him talking smack on the feed I’ll end him in three, if I see him at the press conference in some funny shoes then I’ll end him in two, if you run I’ll end you in one,” added Riakporhe.

Billam-Smith joked he is ‘quite comfortable in my footwear’ and insisted he isn’t thinking too much about his defeat to Riakporhe, which remains his only career defeat as a professional.

The 33-year-old has long maintained the belief that he deserved to win the first fight after being on the receiving end of what he judged to have been an unfair knockdown call by the referee.

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Highlights of Riakporhe’s devastating win by TKO over Dylan Bregeon inside two rounds

“Much different fighter now, different person, it’s finally on and I’m excited,” said Billam-Smith. “I’m glad the fight happened, it helped me build the experience and become the fighter I am today, it was my first proper 50/50 fight so good experience.

“It’s hard to watch when you know what you’re capable of.

“It’s irrelevant now, I’ve gone on to do some good stuff.”

Billam-Smith had put on a career-best performance to dethrone Okolie last year, before successfully defending his title against Mateusz Masternak on December 10.

He says Riakporhe should expect a different version of him the second time around, and is ready to embrace the challenge of fighting in a potentially hostile environment.

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Watch Riakporhe’s ringside reaction to Billam-Smith’s win over Masternak

“I’ve improved in all areas,” said Billam-Smith. “My boxing, physicality, mindset, I’m a completely different fighter and person now, everything that comes with it, the whole package, I’m very content with where I’m at.

“I think it’s good it’s not at Bournemouth in a way because it’s a new motivation, there’s a siege mentality going into somebody’s back garden to fight – it’s that world against you type of thing.

“It brings that new motivation, and one that I thrive in.”

Riakporhe enters with a perfect 17-0 record as a professional, making Dylan Bregeon his 13th knockout win in December on his way towards securing a long-awaited title shot.

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Billam-Smith retained his WBO cruiserweight title after Masternak was unable to continue after sustaining a rib injury

While Billam-Smith wished his opponent well throughout the remainder of training camp, Riakporhe let his intentions be known.

“I’m going to emotionlessly batter you on the 15th of June and your time is coming to an end,” he said.

“The Midnight Train is going to prevail.”

Watch Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight world title against Richard Riakporhe live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 15; before then, Lauren Price fights for a world title for the first time when she meets Jessica McCaskill in Cardiff on Saturday May 11, also live on Sky.

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