Billam-Smith Avenges Defeat, Retains WBO Cruiserweight Title Against Riakporhe

Chris Billam-Smith retained his WBO Cruiserweight Title with a unanimous decision win over Richard Riakporhe.

The fight was a rematch of their 2019 clash, which Riakporhe won. But this time, it was Billam-Smith who took the win. Riakporhe was using his jab well, landing with his left hand. Billam-Smith pressed the action, forcing the challenger on the ropes in a competitive opener. Billam-Smith grew into the second, as the champion set the pace through body shots, with Riakporhe struggling to keep up.

The third was a big uglier as Riakporhe received a warning for leaning in with his head after some good work with his jab. The champion succeeded in the fourth, with a huge right hand to the body. Billam-Smith’s variety was causing Riakporhe problems. However, Riakporhe’s jab was still doing the damage, followed by some right hands, as Billam-Smith’s nose began to bleed.

Billam-Smith was the more consistent fighter heading into the sixth. Riakporhe attempted to disrupt Billam-Smith’s flow. But the champion doubled up with his right hand, landing more shots to the body, with Riakporhe’s backhand missing wildly. Billam-Smith was throwing and landing more.

Riakporhe’s corner urged their man to increase the work rate, but it was the champion turning the screw. A check left hook left Riakporhe dazed in the eighth. The challenger responded with a big right hook, but Billam-Smith was ahead. A huge turning point happened in the ninth. Riakporhe connected with a big overhand right, dislodging Billam-Smith’s mouthpiece.

However, his good work was undone with a low blow, as the referee called time. A left hook then rocked Billam-Smith, with the ropes keeping him up, as the champion showed huge grit to stay on his feet. Riakporhe needed a knockout. He landed a right-left combination in the 11th.

Once again, Billam Smith’s chin stood up to the power. The knockout never came, with Riakporhe getting a point deducted in the 12th for leaning with his head. The champion had shown enormous heart to see the fight out and win a unanimous decision: 116-111, 115-112, and 115-112. The scorecards in truth did not fully reflect Billam-Smith’s dominance. The win was Billam-Smith’s second successful defense, while Riakporhe suffered his first loss.

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