Home Boxing News Richard Riakporhe believes he has Chris Billam-Smith rattled ahead of cruiserweight rematch

Richard Riakporhe believes he has Chris Billam-Smith rattled ahead of cruiserweight rematch

Richard Riakporhe. Photo credit: Mark Robinson

World title challenger Richard Riaphorhe 17-0 (13) was bemused by WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith 19-1 (13) when they filmed in a preview show to promote their fight at Selhurst Park Football Ground in Crystal Palace, England on Saturday night.

“I noticed that on his side, when we did The Gloves Are Off and when we did the press conference, he seemed quite snappy which was a bit strange,” said Riakporhe to Express Sport.

“I’ve never seen him like that before. I don’t know if maybe it’s a little strategy that he and his team are trying to do, trying to get into my mind. But they don’t understand the type of opponent they are up against. If they did, they wouldn’t bother.”

The pair of British cruiserweights have history. London’s Riakporhe, 34, is the only man to defeat Bournemouth’s Billam-Smith, 33. In that fight, Billam-Smith had to climb off the canvas in the seventh round, eventually losing a 10-round split decision.

Judges Leszek Jankowiak and Salvador Salva both scored the bout for Riakporhe with tallies of 95-94 and 97-92 respectively. Judge Terry O’Connor had the bout 96-93 for Billam-Smith.

But that fight was five years ago when both boxers were relative novices having their 10th pro bout each. The question going into this fight is who has improved the most in the intervening years.

“We’ve put the past victory where it is, in the past, and we’ve wiped down the whiteboard and focused on the new task ahead,” continued Riakporhe.

“Chris Billam-Smith has improved and he’s not the same fighter as before. To be fair, I think we’ve approached it like any other fight.

“The opponent is myself, that’s how I’ve always thought. Once I can beat myself in every way and in every aspect then I can’t be beaten. That’s the confidence that we take into these fights.

“That’s why we’re always smiling during fight week, always laughing and joking, because we know it’s just another day in the office. This is what we do. We’re well prepared.”

At six-foot-five Riakporhe is a big body for the 200-pound weight class and he packs a fearsome punch to boot. Add in the hometown fans, and it looks like all the pressure will be on Billam-Smith to perform under pressure.

“When I land the big shots everybody will be screaming and saying: ‘Richard, take him out’, and it’s going to affect his energy levels,” Riakporhe explained.

“Energy is a very important thing when it comes to everything in life, especially with these fights. If the energy is high, it’s almost like momentum. It just keeps on coming and it grows and grows and it’s hard to overcome that. You’re going against everybody, you know?

“You’re going against not just me, but the whole of south London. We all want Riakporhe to win.”