Promoter Shalom Highlights Unique Narrative for Billam-Smith’s Title Defense Against Riakporhe

Chris Billam-Smith vs Richard Riakporhe

Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom has emphasized the unique storyline ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between WBO cruiserweight champion Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe, the only professional to have defeated him.

Billam-Smith, a hero in Bournemouth, is set to make the second defense of his title in enemy territory at Selhurst Park, the home ground of Crystal Palace Football Club, which Riakporhe supports.

Last summer, Billam-Smith claimed his world title at the Vitality Stadium, the home ground of his beloved Bournemouth AFC. On Saturday, June 15, he faces an away fixture against his old rival, Riakporhe.

Shalom expressed excitement about the match, stating, “It’s fascinating to have a world champion with only one loss, and his mandatory challenger is the one who defeated him. It’s two British fighters in a stadium fight – it has everything. Chris Billam-Smith would have wanted to erase that loss, regardless of the mandatory.”

The mandatory fight was called, setting the stage for this special narrative. Shalom believes these two are the best domestic cruiserweights and expects an intense showdown.

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Efforts were made to host the fight again at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, but scheduling conflicts arose. Nonetheless, thousands of Billam-Smith’s Bournemouth supporters are expected to travel to London.

Shalom added, “We tried to get it in Bournemouth, but it didn’t work out. Chris won his world title against Lawrence Okolie at home. We wanted Bournemouth again, but he’s a professional champion who seeks the biggest fights. South London isn’t far from Bournemouth, and I expect a significant traveling support. It’ll be pretty even on the night due to his fanbase.

“His family actually prefers this – the pressure is off. Fighting at home brings high expectations, but this away fixture allows him to thrive. I think 10,000 fans will travel from Bournemouth, and the total attendance could exceed 20,000. It’s the British thing – a stadium fight in the summer with a world title at stake. It’s the British show of the summer and will be spectacular.”

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