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Richard Riakporhe and Chris Billam-Smith can secure world title shots next year - their routes to championship fights revealed

The WBC confirms Richard Riakporhe challenging Ilunga Makabu for its cruiserweight world title is being discussed; WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian open to an "explosive" defence against either Riakporhe or Chris Billam-Smith; plus IBF titlist Jai Opetaia wants to fight in the UK

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Richard Riakporhe stopped Fabio Turchi with a vicious body shot in the second round at Wembley Arena

British cruiserweights Richard Riakporhe and Chris Billam-Smith can both expect to challenge for world titles in 2023.

But they will have to be successful in their next fights.

Billam-Smith boxes Armend Xhoxhaj on December 17, live on Sky Sports, while Riakporhe will be boxing early in the new year.

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Chris Billam-Smith is targeting a world title bout following his hometown fight in Bournemouth against Armend Xhoxhaj in December

London's Riakporhe is well placed for a shot at WBC champion Ilunga Makabu.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaimain told Sky Sports: "Absolutely, he [Riakporhe] is a tremendous fighter, he has come onto the world stage and I'm sure that we'll be hearing from him.

"We have been in communication with BOXXER and it seems that it is real. Ilunga Makabu has a [mandatory] defence scheduled for next year. But any time he could fight in a voluntary defence [against Riakporhe] and I will be certainly looking forward to a new great prospect getting into the mix."

Arsen Goulamirian holds the WBA cruiserweight title and his team are already eyeing a potential bout with either Riakporhe or Billam-Smith.

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Billam-Smith beats Isaac Chamberlain by decision in an epic 12-round battle in Bournemouth

Yohan Zaoui, who represents Goulamirian told Sky Sports: "After three years without fighting, Arsen has proven he is a true champion [beating Aleksei Egorov last month] and he will be stronger in the next fight. He's ready to fight against anyone and prove he's the best cruiserweight in the world.

"A fight against Billam-Smith or Riakporhe would be explosive and interesting for all boxing fans. I had an excellent feeling with Ben Shalom, I will be delighted to work with him on this fight," he continued.

"In any case Arsen will fight next March."

Richard Riakporhe in action against Fabio Turchi (Image: Lawrence Lustig)
Image: Riakporhe has options to reach world level (Image: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER)

BOXXER's Ben Shalom promotes both Britons and said: "Billam-Smith and Riakporhe both will fight for world titles.

"It's going to be a big year for the cruiserweights. Richard will be out in January, Billam-Smith's headlining December. Hopefully we see Lawrence Okolie back on the scene.

"It's a huge, huge year for cruiserweights. Jai Opetaia [the IBF champion] also wants to fight in the UK. Goulamirian does. I'm sure we're going to see an explosive cruiserweight division next year."

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