Who will win the Billam-Smith v Riakporhe rematch?

Author: Published: June 10, 2024
Billam-Smith boxing cruiseweight

Just a day after the start of Euro 2024, there’s going to be plenty of action at Selhurst Park. However, there’s no football at the home of Premier League Crystal Palace but a top-class boxing bill. The main event sees Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight title against Richard Riakporhe.

It’s an exciting time to be a cruiserweight and who knows, the winner of this match could be fighting Oleksandr Usyk in the future. The current undisputed heavyweight champion wants to return to the cruiserweight division he previously dominated.

Chris Billam-Smith is the defending champion but not the favourite to retain his title.  William Hill has him at 19/10 to beat the challenger but he’s beaten the odds in the past and will hope to do so again.

He won this title last year when beating Lawrence Okolie (now a bridgerweight world champion) at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. Now he makes the second defence of his title at another football ground.

Controversial first fight

It was five years ago when this pair had their first fight. On that occasion the WBA Inter-Continental title was at stake and both fighters were unbeaten as a professional. Riakporhe won that bout on a controversial split decision. It’s 11/10 at bet365 that this rematch goes the distance.

How fights are judged is often a controversial subject, it certainly was in their first fight. One judge believed Billam-Smith had won by three points. The other two had Riakporhe ahead by one and five points. That indicates close rounds that could have gone either way. Perhaps a draw is worth betting on for this match. That’s 16/1 if you place your bet at William Hill.

A first professional defeat is always difficult to get over. Billam-Smith hasn’t looked back since losing in 2019. He went on to win titles at Commonwealth, British and European levels. Billam-Smith beat Isaac Chamberlain in 2022 to become British and Commonwealth champion. Chamberlain is also on this bill and is 8/15 at BetVictor to beat Jack Massey.

A ten-fight unbeaten run earned him a shot at the WBO cruiserweight title held by Lawrence Okolie. The May 2023 fight saw the challenger win on points. You can get 4/1 at bet365 on him winning this fight on points.

Two of the judges had Billam-Smith the clear winner by seven and nine points. Heaven knows what the other judge was watching as he called the fight a draw. Okolie was deducted a point and knocked down three times in that fight!

A World title at last?

It’s taken Richard Riakporhe nine years to secure his first world title shot. He’s won all 17 of his professional fights and is 4/9 at BetVictor to beat Billam-Smith on Saturday.

Eight of his first nine wins came inside the distance. The odds of him getting a KO, TKO or DQ against Billam-Smith are 13/8 at bet365.

Billam-Smith won the world title at the ground of AFC Bournemouth who he supports. His opponent in this fight is a big fan of Crystal Palace. To win the title on their home ground would be a dream come true.

Since winning the first fight against Billam-Smith, he’s won the British cruiserweight title with a win over Jack Massey. He then spent nearly two years out of the ring before returning last year to beat former world title challenger Krzysztof Glowacki.

His last fight was against Dylan Bregeon and he won that in just two rounds. The man known as ‘The Midnight Train’ certainly had an early night that evening.

That was his 13th inside-the-distance win. It’s evens at William Hill that this world title fight doesn’t go the distance and 4/6 that no points decision is needed.

This promises to be an excellent fight on June 15. Billam-Smith has improved since their first fight and is on a great unbeaten run that has won him several titles. Riakporhe did knock Billam-Smith down in their first fight and he will be confident of beating him again. A bet on him to win the title by stopping the champion looks a good one to make.

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