Richard Riakporhe Reminds Chris Billam-Smith of Importance of ‘Everlasting’ Success

Richard Riakporhe dismissed suggestions he had been “overtaken” by Chris Billam-Smith as the rivals await confirmation of their rematch.

They are to contest Billam-Smith’s WBO cruiserweight title at a venue to be confirmed in London in June – five years after the 34-year-old Riakporhe inflicted the champion’s only defeat via split decision at The O2 Arena, another venue in the English capital.

In defeating Isaac Chamberlain, winning his title from Lawrence Okolie and then defending it against Mateusz Masternak, Billam-Smith demonstrated that he has since considerably improved, but Riakporhe said: “I believe in this game, every dog has its day, and fortunately for Chris, he had his day earlier than me. [But] when we talk about ‘overtaking’ – I wouldn’t use that word. I’d more say he had his day, and I’ll have my day.

“In life, sometimes the first come last and the last come first, and when the last one comes first it’s everlasting.

“That just sums me up, really. You can have a success and it can be perceived as long lasting but it’s not – it’s only for a moment. I feel like that’s Chris. Chris done extremely well, but we’re gonna take over to take it to another level.

“He’s much better [than in July 2019]. He’s definitely much better. One of the ways he’s improved is probably still knowing you can still win in a fight that he’s losing. A lot of the fights he’s had recently – I’ve pretty much been to all of them – he was losing, and he overcame them, and that’s going to add some mental fortitude to himself. It makes an opponent like that very dangerous.

“I’ve always had full confidence in myself, and been blessed with punch power. If I land correctly on you I can knock you out. That can be any man on the planet – especially in my [weight] category. Any man on the planet, if I land the right shot I’m going to knock you out, and that gives me the confidence to even coast in fights. Which is good and isn’t good at the same time.

“In good ways I can be patient – not a lot of fighters are. They’re eager; they wanna get ahead on the cards; they don’t like the idea of falling behind on the cards, and they get anxious and they start making loads and loads of mistakes. A fighter like me – you do that and you get anxious, you’re going to get knocked out.”

The 33-year-old Billam-Smith’s past four fights have come in his home city of Bournemouth, which will make Riakporhe the “home” fighter in June. They are likely to fight on the same promotion as the potential light-heavyweight contest between Joshua Buatsi and Anthony Yarde.

“We got a date for June, and we’re pretty much waiting – hoping the announcement comes pretty soon,” Riakporhe said. “We’ve got a venue as well – I can’t really disclose any information yet though.

“There’s a mention of [Buatsi fighting Yarde]. Way back, in fact. But making fights is not as straightforward as people think it is, and it could be complex. There’s a possibility that it can happen on the same show, but there’s also a possibility it doesn’t. London is [regardless] the destination.”