Riakporhe ready for Billam-Smith, wants Okolie soon

1128428545.jpg.0 - Riakporhe ready for Billam-Smith, wants Okolie soon

The rising prospect is ready to break through.

Rising cruiserweight prospect Richard Riakporhe returns to the ring on July 20, facing Chris Billam-Smith in a fight on the Whyte-Rivas undercard in London, and the 29-year-old puncher is ready not only for that, he says, but for an eventual fight with British champ Lawrence Okolie, who will also fight on the card.

On Billam-Smith:

“He sounds pretty confident from what I’ve heard. Everybody talks tough. I understand the game, they want to talk tough, they want to market themselves for other potential fights after our boxing match. What I notice, as soon as we get to the press conference and we stand and they take a look in my eyes, they see the fire, they see the fighting spirit. It dawns on them.”

Riakporhe (9-0, 8 KO) is a raw but promising fighter, while Billam-Smith (9-0, 8 KO) has the same record, but with less quality opposition for level. While Riakporhe has beaten Sam Hyde and Tommy McCarthy in his last two outings, Billam-Smith, 28, has been competing at a lower level.

Still, there are some whispers out there that Billam-Smith may be a tougher out for Riakporhe than might be expected on paper, that stylistically, he could wind up a real challenge.

If Riakporhe does get through, there is a much-talked about fight with Okolie (12-0, 9 KO) potentially on the horizon.

“I think it’s just a matter of time. He keeps on winning, I keep on winning — people are going to call for it. … People just want to see the fight, they don’t know what will happen.”

Okolie-Riakporhe could be a big domestic-level clash by the end of 2019 if things go well on the 20th, but Okolie has already had some talks about moving up to world level, too. He was linked to a possible fight with Denis Lebedev, and though it didn’t come off in this cycle, that fight — or something at that level — could be in the cards this year, too.

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