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Chris Billam-Smith warns: 'Richard Riakporhe needs more than power to beat me' | 'I like to prove people wrong'

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Chris Billam-Smith warns: 'Richard Riakporhe needs more than power to beat me' | 'I like to prove people wrong'

Chris Billam-Smith relishes the prospect of proving his doubters wrong against Richard Riakporhe.

Bournemouth's Billam-Smith is the WBO cruiserweight world champion who has established himself at the top level with victories over Lawrence Okolie and Mateusz Masternak.

Yet, even though Riakporhe would be going in as the challenger, the Londoner is seen by many as the favourite. The unbeaten Riakporhe has impressed with his recent knockout wins and he holds a previous victory over Billam-Smith from 2019 when they were both rising prospects.

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Billam-Smith might have lost that first fight but he went on from there to win British, European and world championships, leaving Riakporhe playing catch up.

But getting a measure of revenge against the Londoner is highly appealing to Billam-Smith. Beating his mandatory challenger would underscore the Bournemouth man's world-class credentials.

"It would just wake everyone else up. That's how it's always felt with me in my career. We know what it's like being in the ring with me and what I do really well. A lot of it is unseen by the untrained eye," Billam-Smith told Sky Sports.

"For us nothing really changes because in my head I'm the favourite within our group going into the fight and that's what matters to me. It's nice to be written off by everyone else and prove people wrong.

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"We like to prove people wrong."

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Billam-Smith's achievements should not be underrated. "At some point people will start realising that it's not just luck," he said. "You can't keep getting lucky.

"We know why I'm capable of doing it," he continued. "Fighters don't keep achieving, don't keep beating people by pure luck. It comes from hard work."

He had a warning for Riakporhe: "I don't think he's improved as much as I have. I also think the changes he's made are going to suit me better in this fight."

The Londoner is undoubtedly powerful. But Billam-Smith is not intimidated.

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"That's literally the only thing he's got on me, his punch power and he'll have to come up with a lot more than that to be able to beat me and I don't think he'll have it," he said.

"It might be different when people can take those punches or handle his power a bit better," he added. "I have boxed him before and I was never hurt in the first fight and I took some pretty fully fledged punches.

"I'm not sure how much his power will have improved but I know mine has improved a hell of a lot."

For Billam-Smith it might be hard to top winning a world title in his hometown football stadium. But he intends to try.

Gilberto Ramirez, the new WBA world titlist, is a target after Riakporhe. "That would be amazing, that really would be an away day. I'd love to fight in the States," he said. "Do the whole experience and then to fight another belt as well would be amazing."

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He would take a rematch with Lawrence Okolie too, if his former opponent can beat Lukasz Rozanski on May 24 and win the WBC bridgerweight title.

"I've got a few other fights I'd like to have at cruiserweight before considering that. It's definitely an option," he said.

"Winning the world title at a football stadium, since then I've got to make some new dreams. They've got to be pretty big to keep the motivation high after the stadium fight. Still very, very motivated and looking forward to the journey."

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