Home Boxing News Chris Billam-Smith confident he can settle the score against Richard Riakporhe on...

Chris Billam-Smith confident he can settle the score against Richard Riakporhe on Saturday

Chris Billam-Smith. Photo credit: Lawrence Lustig

WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith 19-1 (13) says he is unconcerned about the vaunted power of Richard Riakporhe 17-0 (14) ahead of their fight at Selhurst Park Football Ground in Crystal Palace, England on Saturday night.

The reason for his nonchalance? He’s seen it all before.

In May last year Billam-Smith challenged another big hitter in the form of Lawrence Okolie 20-1 (15) for the WBO title. It was a scrappy affair that saw Okolie on the canvas three times and twice docked points for excessive holding but by the end, Billam-Smith prevailed by majority decision.

The 33-year-old from Bournemouth believes that experience has prepared him well to face Londoner Riakporhe, 34.

“It feels very similar to the Lawrence fight,” Billam-Smith revealed to Mail Sport.

“Everyone was talking about Lawrence’s punch power and how he’s the puncher but he never hurt me in that fight and I knocked him down three times and I think it will be the same on Saturday.

“I think it will be a big, big shock for Richard when he feels the power, my power, and everything that comes with it. I think the power is going to really surprise him and he’s going to really dislike being in there with me and I’ll get rid of him inside the distance.”

The fight is an opportunity for Billam-Smith to get his revenge over Riakporhe. The duo boxed five years ago with Riakporhe winning a close split decision over 10 heats.

“A loss is never going to define me in terms of ‘oh no, but he lost to Richard Riakporhe’,” Billam-Smith said.

“It was, if I get the opportunity then brilliant, but obviously since then I’ve gone on and won numerous titles and a world title at that as well. I’ve just used it to spur me on.

“Thankfully, I’ve got the opportunity to settle the score and that’s huge motivation.”

Despite the loss, Billam-Smith says he learnt a lot from that fight too.

“The fight itself was great experience for me. It gave me a huge amount of belief in myself, where I hadn’t had any 50/50 fights before that,” Billam-Smith said.

“I think he kind of won the fight because of his experience. It was a really close fight, it could have been a draw, it could have gone either way, but the fact he was able to get over the line was just that little bit of experience.

“And this time I think it’s the same but I’m more experienced now and all that experience I’ve had since then has built me up ready to take on this.”

All of the pressure, according to Billam-Smith, will be on Riakporhe.

“[This fight is] perfect for me because I’ve had two headline fights at home before that and that helped me get used to it and build into the stadium fights, but for him he hasn’t had that,” said Billam-Smith, who will be making the second defence of the WBO belt.

“He hasn’t had massive crowds there for him so it may affect him in a negative way. We’ll see. It depends how you deal with the pressure but for me it was a gradual increase in pressure, whereas for him it’s a big, big step.

“A first world title fight, the whole show is built around him, so a huge amount of pressure.”