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Chris Billam-Smith targeting Jai Opetaia showdown and America opportunity after Richard Riakporhe clash

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; Ben Whittaker and Dan Azeez feature on the undercard

BEN SHALOM BOXXER BOURNEMOUTH FIGHT NIGHT.09/12/2023 BIC, BOURNEMOUTH.PIC LAWRENCE LUSTIG/BOXXER.(PICS FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY).WEIGH IN.WBO WORLD CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH v MATEUSZ MASTERNAK
Image: Chris Billam-Smith is targeting the cruiserweight division's biggest names should he overcome Richard Riakporhe this weekend

Chris Billam-Smith is eyeing a global tour. Once he is finished with Richard Riakporhe, that is. 

The WBO cruiserweight world champion puts his title on the line against his British rival at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park this weekend in what he believes marks the final step before a collision with his fellow belt-holders overseas.

Among those in his sights is IBF champion Jai Opetaia, who arguably sits atop of the division after his wins over Mairis Briedis.

"I think it's the biggest fight in the division at the moment," Billam-Smith told Sky Sports. "It would be great to get that fight done. It would be amazing if we could do it for an undisputed world title, for all four of the belts.

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Watch the best moments from Riakporhe's win over Billam-Smith by split decision in 2019

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"I think that's the big one. I've got a job to do but down the line definitely, it's a huge fight and the biggest fight in the division.

"He ticks a lot of boxes, he's got good footwork, really good timing, good speed, good shot selection there, he's super tough as well, obviously you've seen him fight with a broken jaw.

"He's a really, really talented fighter and, like I said, ticks a lot of boxes. So it would be great if we could could fight down the line."

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Billam-Smith says there is "legacy at stake" as he seeks to avenge his 2019 defeat to Riakporhe and cap his recent success against domestic cruiserweight rivals. He has taken out Tommy McCarthy, Isaac Chamberlain and Lawrence Okolie. Now for the only man to beat him in the ring.

"Really me and Richard are the last two of the current crop of cruiserweights," he said. "So Richard is the last one on the current British cruiserweight hit list. And I've just got to get over the line."

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Ahead of Billam-Smith's fight with Riakporhe at Selhurst Park, take a look back at some of the biggest stadium fights in British boxing history

Beyond that? He wants to head for the bright lights of America.

"After we get this out of the way and a mandatory challenger out of the way then I'll look to unify, that's the big goal for me," he said.

"I'd love to fight out in America. That's kind of another dream, as it is for any boxer, to fight out in America, whether that's Vegas or New York or LA or whatever. I'm not. I'm not too picky.

"Just to get the opportunity to go out there and to do a whole camp out there and fight out in America would be phenomenal.

"I've been out there for fights before and I'm going out for another one this summer as well. It's a great place for boxing out there. They've got good fans as well - not quite as good as our fans!"

Riakporhe has flirted with the idea of an eventual step towards the heavyweight division, similar to the current path being taken by Okolie.

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Riakporhe made a chilling prediction after it was announced he would face Billam-Smith at Selhurst Park

Billam-Smith, though, maintains that cruiserweight remains one of boxing's most intriguing classes. Talk of a certain Oleksandr Usyk re-entering the fold might have only added to that.

"It's a great division, there's a lot of depth to it," said Billam-Smith. "Over the last few years the champions and belts have changed hands a few times, there's a lot of talent in the division.

"It's exciting because the weight we fight at now is probably similar to what Muhammed Ali was getting in the ring at, whereas now sometimes the heavyweights are almost too big. It's a really great division that I'm honoured to be part of."

Only 30 per cent of tickets remain for Billam-Smith vs Riakporhe. Get your tickets now 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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