We recently learned that Chris Billam-Smith, Britain’s top cruiserweight behind Lawrence Okolie, will return to action in just over a month against Armend Xhoxhaj. We now know what his chief rival’s plans are, as Ben Shalom tells Sky Sports that Richard Riakporhe will meet former champion Krzysztof Glowacki, “likely” this coming January.
Riakporhe (15-0, 11 KO) scraped past Billam-Smith when they met as unbeatens in 2019 and quickly followed up with a decision over Jack Massey for the British title. He’s been on the warpath of late, beating down Deion Jumah in March and subsequently crushing Fabio Turchi with a second-round body shot.
Shalom says that Billam-Smith will be looking to challenge Jai Opetaia for the IBF title next spring, but Riakporhe sits above him in the rankings at no. 2. I wouldn’t be hugely surprised to see the IBF order a rematch for mandatory status unless Opetaia takes a voluntary defense against Billam-Smith.
That’s assuming Riakporhe gets past Glowacki (32-3, 2 KO). The 36-year-old is definitely on the downswing after stoppage losses to Mairis Briedis and the aforementioned Okolie, but he only ever falls short against the best and is easily the most credentialed opponent of Riakporhe’s career. Solid matchmaking here; a dominant win over a skilled veteran would give Riakporhe an excellent argument for a title shot by the end of 2023.