Matchroom’s July 20 Sky Box Office card is coming together. The show, headlined by Dillian Whyte vs Oscar Rivas, added another heavyweight clash between Dave Allen and David Price a few days ago, and now Matchroom have announced a cruiserweight addition to the card.
Richard Riakporhe (9-0, 8 KO) and Chris Billam-Smith (8-0, 7 KO) will square off on the show. They both have unbeaten records, but have certainly been in with different levels of opposition, and as a result there is a clear favorite here.
Riakporhe, 29, has beaten Sam Hyde and Tommy McCarthy in his last two. There’s still a rawness to his game — Hyde was up on the scores before his corner threw in the towel in the eighth round — but he’s a powerful puncher. He didn’t turn pro until Aug. 2016, so while he’s old for a prospect by age, he’s still developing. There has been talk of Riakporhe facing British/Commonwealth champion Lawrence Okolie, but Okolie now seems to be targeting the world level.
Billam-Smith, 28, has really faced nobody. His best win came last October over Robin Dupre, a stoppage after five rounds at York Hall, and Dupre had similarly fought nobody except for a 2017 loss to Luke Watkins.
Let’s put it this way: for cruiserweights in the UK, Riakporhe is ranked No. 3 by BoxRec, and Billam-Smith is No. 19. That’s not gospel, but it gives you a good idea. A win by Billam-Smith would be a legitimate upset despite their records being similar on paper.
There’s still been no announcement about US outlet for this show, by the way. It’s still expected it will wind up on DAZN, but Whyte brings legitimate TV interest over here, too. His rematch with Dereck Chisora in Dec. 2018 was picked up by Showtime. Whyte-Rivas is a WBC eliminator, so with the winner in line for a shot at Deontay Wilder sooner or later, Showtime may want to grab this one, too. But we’ll see.