Cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe will be a very interested party in Saturday’s collision between WBO world champion Lawrence Okolie and challenger Chris Billam-Smith at the Vitality Stadium.
Is Riakporhe has his way, he would like to face the winner by the end of the year.
Riakporhe, who has a rivalry with both boxers, made a big statement in January when he knocked out former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki in four rounds.
“I’m really interested to see who’s going to come out the winner because I’m planning to fight the winner some time this year,” Riakporhe told Sky Sports News.
“I believe I can beat both of them on the same night, both of them by knockout. I’m not planning to go twelve rounds I’m telling you that.”
Because Billam-Smith has the home advantage with the Bournemouth crowd, Riakporhe thinks Okolie will need a knockout to win.
“He knows he has to come there and really put on a big performance and to be honest he’s going to have to go for a knockout, he’s going to need a knockout to make sure,” Riakporhe said.
“I think if it goes the distance Chris Billam-Smith will come out on top on points. I think he will win on points, me personally.”
Additionally, Billam-Smith is trained by Shane McGuigan, who used to be the head trainer for Okolie.
Okolie is known for his tactic of holding fighters to prevent their ability to mount any offense.
Riakporhe feels confident McGuigan and Billam-Smith have a plan in place to derail Okolie’s holding tactics.
“He hasn’t given himself a lot of time to rectify his faults. In the last fight he was doing the same thing – a lot of punching and holding from round one. I think he’s going to get penalized,” Riakporhe said.
“In the last fight he got one point deducted and if Shane McGuigan and Chris Billam-Smith come up with a decent plan and he starts to hold from early and he gets deducted three points, three warnings, that’s it, I think he would actually lose. I think that they are going to definitely make sure that he’s not doing any holding because Lawrence Okolie’s known for holding after he throws his punches.”