Boxxer’s Ben Shalom tells Sky Sports that WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith and longtime rival Richard Riakporhe have agreed to and signed off on a rematch.
The date and location remain up in the air, with Shalom “looking at dates at both Selhurst Park and the Vitality [S]tadium.”
Billam-Smith (19-1, 13 KO) and Riakporhe (17-0, 13 KO) first met in 2019, with Riakporhe claiming a split decision on the strength of a seventh-round knockdown. The pair went on to effectively clean out the remainder of the domestic cruiserweight scene; Billam-Smith took home two wins over Tommy McCarthy and one over Isaac Chamberlain before upsetting Lawrence Okolie for the belt, while Riakporhe scored noteworthy victories over Jack Massey and Deion Jumah, among others.
The rematch has seemingly been right around the corner for ages, but they’ve taken a very convoluted path to get there. The plan seemed to be for Riakporhe to challenge Jai Opetaia for the IBF belt and set up a title unification, only for Riakporhe to bail on the purse bid at the eleventh hour.
Riakporhe went on to run over Dylan Bregeon in November, while Billam-Smith overcome a rough start to force an injury stoppage over Mateusz Masternak a month later.
These are the two best cruiserweights in Britain, there’s a rivalry, Billam-Smith is consistently entertaining, and Riakporhe packs some serious power. Whole lot to like about this one.