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Inside the Ring Rivalry: Chris Billam-Smith Sends Warning to Rival Cruiserweight

Inside the Ring Rivalry: Chris Billam-Smith Doubts Rival Cruiserweight

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Inside the Ring Rivalry: Chris Billam-Smith Sends Warning to Rival Cruiserweight

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Inside the Ring Rivalry: Chris Billam-Smith Sends Warning to Rival Cruiserweight

WBO cruiserweight world champion Chris Billam-Smith (19-1, 13 KOs) has spoken to Sky Sports about his future plans, including his expected next step against power-punching rival Richard Riakporhe (17-0, 13 KOs). Billam-Smith also discussed his hopes for after that fight.

Chris Billam-Smith Talks Future Plans

Billam-Smith vs. Richard Riakporhe II

The British fighter was last seen in the ring when he defeated Mateusz Masternak on December 10, 2023, in what was a bruising encounter. Following this win, the Bournemouth resident clearly has big dreams he wants to accomplish, and that will seemingly start with a title defence and rematch against Riakporhe. Billam-Smith has agreed to the rematch, and speaking on his rival, he said: “I’m not sure how much his power will have improved but I know mine has a hell of a lot.”

Despite being the champion, the Londoner is seemingly the favourite by many, to back up his win over the Billam-Smith in 2019. A win in the rematch would move the Bournemouth native on to the bigger fights he craves: “It would just wake everyone else up. That’s how it’s always felt with me in my career. We know what it’s like being in the ring with me and what I do really well. A lot of it is unseen by the untrained eye,” Billam-Smith told Sky Sports.

Read More: Five Underrated Cruiserweight Boxers to Look Out for in 2024

He continued: “For us nothing really changes because in my head I’m the favourite within our group going into the fight and that’s what matters to me. It’s nice to be written off by everyone else and prove people wrong.”

Speaking about being underrated, he said: “At some point people will start realising that it’s not just luck,” he said. “You can’t keep getting lucky.” He added: “We know why I’m capable of doing it,” he continued. “Fighters don’t keep achieving, don’t keep beating people by pure luck. It comes from hard work.”

Sending a warning to Riakporhe, he said:  “I don’t think he’s improved as much as I have. I also think the changes he’s made are going to suit me better in this fight.”  Riakporhe is known for his power, but Billam-Smith also proved his power in his win over Lawrence Okolie and the win over Masternak. The Bournemouth resident addressed his rival’s power: “That’s literally the only thing he’s got on me, his punch power and he’ll have to come up with a lot more than that to be able to beat me and I don’t think he’ll have it.” 

Read More: Five All-Action British Fighters to Watch Out for in 2024

Billam-Smith continued: “It might be different when people can take those punches or handle his power a bit better.” Adding about expectations of his opponent, he said: “I have boxed him before and I was never hurt in the first fight and I took some pretty fully fledged punches.”

“I’m not sure how much his power will have improved but I know mine has improved a hell of a lot.”

Future Ambitions

Despite Billam-Smith winning a world title in his hometown football stadium, he harbours big ambitions and has his eye on the new WBA world champion: “That would be amazing, that really would be an away day. I’d love to fight in the States,” he said. “Do the whole experience and then to fight another belt as well would be amazing.”

Read More: Chris Billam-Smith Scores Devastating KO

Other possible options include a rematch against Lawrence Okolie if he can come through his WBC bridgerweight title fight against the current champion Lukasz Rozanski on May 24“I’ve got a few other fights I’d like to have at cruiserweight before considering that. It’s definitely an option,” he said. 

“Winning the world title at a football stadium, since then I’ve got to make some new dreams. They’ve got to be pretty big to keep the motivation high after the stadium fight. Still very, very motivated and looking forward to the journey.”

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Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer, spending most of his time waiting for the Tyson Fury vs Usyk announcement. Also watches YouTube videos of Lennox Lewis fights on a daily basis.

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