Unifications on Chris Billam-Smith’s mind after Riakporhe revenge win

What’s next for Chris Billam-Smith? After beating Richard Riakporhe last weekend, he called out for a unification against WBA king Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. Jai Opetaia holds the IBF title and Noel Mikalian is the WBC champion.

The Bournemouth boxer keeps on proving the critics wrong. After defeating Lawrence Okolie for the WBO cruiserweight title in May 2023, CBS went into Riakporhe’s manor to defend his belt and gain revenge. Our man Eric Armit deconstructed the victory, round by round.

Round 1

Both are good jabbers and Riakporhe snaps Billam-Smith’s head back with an early jab then lands a right. Riakporhe is holding inside. Billam-Smith connects with a right to the head and a left hook to the body. Riakporhe lands a jab and a right at distance. Riakporhe holding again and is given two warnings.

Score: 10-9 Riakporhe

Riakporhe (left) trying to put a dent in champion Chris Billam-Smith (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Round 2

Billam-Smith twice takes Riakporhe to the ropes and lands to the body. Riakporhe holding again but no warning. Billam-Smith landing jabs and a left uppercut. Riakporhe gets through with a jab and a right and Billam-Smith replies with a jab and a right hook.

Score 10-9 Billam-Smith (TIED 19-19)

Round 3

Billam-Smith scores with sharp jabs. Riakporhe is warned for being careless with his head twice and for a low punch. Billam-Smith gets through with jabs and Riakporhe is warned for head work. Both score with a jab and Billam-Smith with an uppercut. Too many clinches and Riakporhe is hardly throwing punches.

Score: 10-9 Billam-Smith (Billam-Smith 29-28)

Round 4

Both land jabs and Riakporhe lands a right to the body. Billam-Smith lands two body shots. Riakporhe scores with a couple of jabs but Billam-Smith lands hooks to the body. Riakporhe lands a clubbing right. A close round.

Score: 10-9 Riakporhe (TIED 38-38)

Round 5

Both land jabs early. Billam-Smith connects with two left hooks to the body. Billam-Smith lands a couple of jabs, then a right to the body. Riakporhe gets through with a jab but again, Billam-Smith lands to the body.

Score: 10-9 Billam-Smith (Billam-Smith 48-47)

Round 6

They trade jabs and Billam-Smith steps in with hooks to the body. Billam-Smith getting through with jabs and a right to the ribs. Billam-Smith lands hooks inside. Riakporhe is holding and not working inside but lands a heavy right.

Score: 10-9 Billam-Smith (Billam-Smith 58-56)

Round 7

Riakporhe lands a sneaky right and they both score with jabs. Billam-Smith crashes an uppercut through Riakporhe’s guard and lands a right to the head. Billam-Smith lands a couple of body shots. Riakporhe loses his mouthguard.

Billam-Smith lands a good jab and Riakporhe misses with a right. Riakporhe is just not working hard enough and is constantly looking to clinch. Billam-Smith lands a left hook to the head. Riakporhe connects with a clubbing right.

Score: 10-9 Billam Smith (Billam-Smith 68-65)

Round 8

Livelier from Riakporhe as he is throwing jabs and following with a right, but he is soon holding again. Billam-Smith scores with two jabs and a right to the head. They stand and trade some hard headshots, with both connecting, but then Riakporhe shuts down, and Billam-Smith is scoring to the body. Billam-Smith is working inside, but Riakporhe is just holding. Billam-Smith curves two punches around Riakporhe’s guard.

Score: 10-9 Billam Smith (Billam-Smith 78-74)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 15: Chris Billam-Smith punches Richard Riakporhe during the WBO World Cruiserweight Title fight between Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe at Selhurst Park on June 15, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Round 9

Riakporhe looks like a different fighter when he jabs with authority and comes in behind his jab as he started to do in this round. He landed a big right to the head that shook Billam-Smith but he then landed low and Billam-Smith was given some recovery time. Billam-Smith landed jabs and a right inside but Riakporhe drove him to a corner and bombarded him with punches. Billam-Smith got out of the corner and landed jabs and rights to the body. Riakporhe landed a left hook to the head but again just held.

Score: 10-9 Riakporhe (Billam-Smith 87-84)

Round 10

Billam-Smith pierced Riakporhe’s guard with jabs and Riakporhe connected with a solid right. A series of jabs from Billam-Smith forced Riakporhe back but Riakporhe came back throwing big punches that were off target. Again, Riakporhe was just leaning on and holding.

Score: 10-9 Billam-Smith (Billam-Smith 97-93)

Round 11

Riakporhe was on the back foot, jabbing well and scoring to the body. Riakporhe was given a strong warning about his headwork. Riakporhe scored with a long right to the head and, after a clinch, landed another.

Score: 10-9 Riakporhe (Billam-Smith 106-103)

Round 12

Billam-Smith was busy firing jabs through Riakporhe’s guard. Riakporhe again was doing very little work and leaning on and holding. Billam-Smith kept pumping out short punches, with Riakporhe missing with overhand rights. Riakporhe was warned about driving forward with his head and when he did it again, the referee deducted a point* and a few seconds later warned Riakporhe again for holding.

Score: 10-8* Billam-Smith (Billam-Smith 116-111)

Official Scores: 115-112 twice and 116-111 for Billam-Smith.


Billam-Smith retains the WBO title and reverses a split decision loss to Riakporhe in 2019. He had floored champion Lawrence Okolie three times when winning the title and mentioned the hope of a unifier against WBA champion Gilberto Ramirez.

Riakporhe had won his last five fights by KO/TKO and this was looked upon as an even money fight. However, Riakporhe was a disappointment, just not working hard enough and wasting too much energy holding. He can still be a force, but he has to do better than he did in this fight.

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