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Chris Billam-Smith believes he's already edging mental battle with Richard Riakporhe: 'I win every face-off!'

Watch Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight world championship against Richard Riakporhe at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 15; light-heavyweight stars Ben Whittaker and Dan Azeez feature on the undercard

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Challenger Richard Riakporhe sends a surprising final message to champion Chris Billiam-Smith ahead of their WBO cruiserweight title fight on Saturday

Chris Billam-Smith is convinced he is winning the mental battle ahead of Saturday's world title fight with Richard Riakporhe.

Riakporhe challenges Billam-Smith for the WBO cruiserweight championship at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park stadium, live on Sky Sports.

At their staredowns after the public workouts and final press conference, Billam-Smith pointed out that Riakporhe was the one to look away first.

He counts that as a minor victory in the pre-fight mind games.

"It matters if you think it matters," Billam-Smith told Sky Sports. "The length he held that stare means it matters to him but he couldn't hold it long enough.

"That's what I mean - I think it matters if you think it matters and I think he thinks it matters and he's still not holding that stare. So we'll see what he's like at the weigh-in."

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Billam-Smith says he will be ready for whatever Riakporhe brings on fight night and believes he will win by knockout

The champion added cheerfully: "Every face-off I've won. Just like Saturday night I'll be winning."

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Riakporhe is the Crystal Palace fan whose close links to the club have brought this bout to Selhurst Park. But Bournemouth's Billam-Smith will have the home dressing room on the night.

"The team got it in the contract - champion's rights," Billam-Smith said. "I get to choose the dressing room. They picked the nicer dressing room for me which is obviously the home one as with every football stadium and that's good management for you."

Ringwalk times

  • Ben Whittaker's ringwalk for his light-heavyweight contest with Ezra Arenyeka is expected around 9pm on Saturday night.
  • For the Chris Billam-Smith vs Richard Riakporhe main event, ringwalks will be from 9.45pm.
  • Don't miss the big Selhurst Park bill live on Sky Sports.

He believes having that privilege for himself will also ruffle his opponent. "Possibly yeah. I think it did bother him, from we've been asked numerous times after it got put in the contract. Jake [McGuigan, his manager] told me the other day he's been asked numerous times what changing room I want, even though Jake had repeatedly said the home one.

"So it must bother him. Someone must be asking or trying to get it for him."

These are just small skirmishes in the mental build-up to the fight. But Billam-Smith sounds certain that his mindset will see him through to the ultimate victory on Saturday night.

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Billam-Smith got a cold response from Riakporhe when he predicted he would retain his WBO world title by knockout

"He's a fighter so he'll dig down in the fight and he's not necessarily going to quit," Billam-Smith said of his challenger.

"But everything that comes with it, having that experience, how to deal with the big fights, how to deal with everything - I think that'll come into play. For sure."

Final remaining tickets for Billam-Smith vs Riakporhe available via Boxxer.com.

Watch Chris Billam-Smith defend his WBO cruiserweight world title against Richard Riakporhe at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, live on Sky Sports on Saturday June 15; or Stream with NOW

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