Billam-Smith holds on to his title, while Riakporhe just holds

For the second time in 13 months, Chris Billam-Smith finds himself in a familiar situation. He wears the expression of a frustrated boy on the playground who is irritated with a classmate who constantly picks up the football instead of kicking it. Despite being reminded that they are playing football and not rugby, the classmate with the ball in his hands insists that this is how they play football in America.

Both boys have valid perspectives, but only one of them finds the situation exasperating. In the boxing ring, where there are fewer grey areas, there is a clear distinction between a boxer who is eager to fight and one who would rather be doing something else.

Richard Riakporhe, Billam-Smith’s opponent in Croydon last night (June 15), was not unwilling to fight for his paycheck. However, the contrast in attitudes between the two cruiserweights was noticeable, similar to the contrast between the boys on the playground debating whether to kick or carry the ball.

Billam-Smith has always been known for his action-oriented approach; he is a kicker, not a carrier. Some may criticize him for being transparent in his desire for a traditional, no-nonsense fight. While this mentality has garnered him a strong following among British boxing fans, it has also made him a desirable opponent for many fighters. With Billam-Smith, you know what to expect.

However, recent fights have taught him that the saying “two fighters make a fight” is true. He experienced this revelation against Lawrence Okolie and once again against Riakporhe. Unlike previous opponents, Riakporhe brought uncertainty and negativity to the ring, making the fight less exciting for both Billam-Smith and the fans.

Despite a brief moment of excitement in round nine, where Riakporhe landed some solid shots, the fight largely remained uneventful. Riakporhe resorted to a repetitive strategy of seeking right hand punches and engaging in clinches, failing to capitalize on his moments of success.

Riakporhe’s holding tactics were not penalized until round 11, and by then, it was too little, too late. The fight lacked the excitement and engagement that both fighters and fans had hoped for, with Riakporhe’s relentless holding preventing a more dynamic contest.

Billam-Smith throws his right (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

In the end, Billam-Smith secured the victory, but not without some concern over the close scorecards. Despite the challenges he faced in these fights, Billam-Smith has managed to overcome his opponents, including Riakporhe, by adapting to the unconventional styles they presented.

Entertainment may have been sacrificed in these bouts, but Billam-Smith remains focused on achieving victory and continuing to improve as a fighter. He understands that sometimes, he must endure frustrating challenges and rise above them to succeed. The fun and excitement can return when he faces an opponent who shares his values and beliefs.

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