Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe collide in one of the biggest all-British fights of the year this Saturday – here’s all you need to know ahead of their cruiserweight world title showdown. 

When is the Billam-Smith vs Riakporhe fight?

Riakporhe will challenge Billam-Smith for the WBO cruiserweight world title in the main event on Saturday June 15, with fans able to tune in to watch a bumper undercard from 6.30pm live on Sky Sports Action or stream instantly with NOW.

Where is the Billam-Smith vs Riakporhe fight taking place?

Billam-Smith enjoyed the outburst of support from his home fans when he dethroned former world champion Lawrence Okolie at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium last year. Now it is the turn of Riakporhe to soak up the love of his south London faithful when he welcomes Billam-Smith to Selhurst Park, the home of his team Crystal Palace.

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

What to know about both fighters?

Billam-Smith arrives as defending WBO cruiserweight world champion having clinched the belt by beating Okolie via majority decision after flooring the Londoner three times in Bournemouth back in May 2023. He has since retained the title by beating Mateusz Masternak following the Polish fighter’s eighth-round retirement in December.

Riakporhe comes in as the challenger with a perfect record to his name having stopped each of his last five opponents, most recently knocking out Dylan Bregeon in the second round in November.

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‘The Gloves Are Off’ featuring Billam-Smith and Riakporhe

Chris Billam-Smith stats

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6ft 3in
  • Total fights: 20
  • Record: 19-1 (13 KOs)

Richard Riakporhe stats

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6ft 5in
  • Total fights: 17
  • Record: 17-0 (13 KOs)

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Ahead of Billam-Smith’s WBO cruiserweight world title fight with Riakporhe at Selhurst Park, take a look back at some of the biggest stadium fights in British boxing history

Where does the rivalry come from?

There is history there. Riakporhe famously handed Billam-Smith the only defeat of his professional career to date when he edged a split-decision victory at The O2 in July 2019.

Billam-Smith has since regularly disputed the decision, with the judges scoring the fight 97-92, 95-94 and 93-96 in favour of Riakporhe.

While it has served as a prominent talking point during the build-up, both men have played down suggestions their first fight will hold any influence heading into Saturday.

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Crystal Palace fan Riakporhe came face to face with Billam-Smith at Selhurst Park ahead of their fight

Who is on the undercard?

The Ben Whittaker show resumes as the Olympian encounters surprise challenger Ezra Arenyeka, who made a name for himself by gatecrashing his opponent’s press conference ahead of his last fight against Leon Willings. In doing so the undefeated Arenyeka talked his way to a shot against rising star Whittaker, who is looking to send a message to any fighter thinking of doing the same thing.

Whittaker is 7-0 as a professional following his unanimous-decision win over Willings in March, while Arenyeka enters 12-0.

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From dancing and posturing to ring gymnastics, take a look at the best of Ben Whittaker’s showboating

Dan Azeez (20-1, 13 KOs) returns to action for the first time since February’s unanimous decision loss to Joshua Buatsi when he fights Hrvoje Sep (12-2).

Isaac Chamberlain (16-2, 8 KOs) challenges Poland’s Michal Cieslak (25-2, 19 KOs) for the European cruiserweight title following October’s win over Mikael Lawal to become British and Commonwealth champion.

Francesca Hennessy (3-0) also continues her rise to stardom, with the 19-year-old bantamweight prospect having emerged as one of the most exciting talents in boxing.

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Riakporhe made a chilling prediction after it was announced he would face Billam-Smith

What has been said?

Chris Billam-Smith:

“If there’s more pressure on me then brilliant. I said that last year there was no more pressure in my career than that fight [against Okolie]. I loved it and I loved the pressure, and for me there’s this huge amount of pressure on me in this fight because there’s a legacy at stake.

“Me and Richard are the last two of the current crop of cruiserweights. Richard is the last one on the current British cruiserweight hitlist and I’ve just got to get over the line.

“I think he’s a massive step from where he’s been in terms of headlining, the type of opponent, the experience that his opponents have had in the past and where they’re at in their career.

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The Toe2Toe panel discuss whether Riakporhe’s natural power will be a problem again for Billam-Smith’s shaky defence

“This is a very hungry version of me. I’m a much better fighter than I was last time, that’s for sure, and much better than anyone he’s faced. I think it’s a big, big leap in levels.

“He thought he knew who I was, but in the last 18 months, I’m a completely different animal. The confidence has come on in leaps and bounds since we last fought, I’m a dangerous man and everyone knows that.”

Richard Riakporhe:

“He’s got one loss on the record, on his impressive record. I’m just going to do it again, that’s the plan. I need to double that number, that’s the aim, that’s my goal.

“What makes it so much better and tantalising is that there’s a world title belt on the line. I have the confidence already because I beat him already. But because this world title’s on the line, I feel like I’m just ready to go to another place.

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Riakporhe told Billam-Smith he has been in too many tough fights

“I want to put on a performance that cannot be questioned. People are going to know the difference between me and ‘The Gentleman’. There’s a big difference. I believe that I’m a level above.

“I do believe that power is enough to deal with Chris Billam-Smith. My power in particular is enough to deal with him. No matter whether he’s winning rounds or not. I just need to land the correct shot and he’s gone.

“I’m going for the KO, that’s all I want to do. Chris Billam-Smith has made a big mistake. He’s going to be looking back 20 years from now, regretting taking this fight and I’m going to still be visiting him in his dreams like Freddy Krueger.”

Watch Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight world title against Richard Riakporhe at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park, live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 15; Ben Whittaker and Dan Azeez feature on the undercard. You can also stream the event through NOW TV.

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