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Ben Whittaker shoves opponent as Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe refuse to back down at weigh-in

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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Ben Whittaker remains unfazed as he and Ezra Arenyeka scuffle at the weigh-in ahead of their light-heavyweight contest at Selhurst Park on Saturday

Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe locked into a long, unblinking staredown that turned into a battle of wills, as Ben Whittaker drove his opponent back by the throat at an intense weigh-in.

Neither Billam-Smith nor Riakporhe would give an inch in their final face-off before their world title fight, live on Sky Sports on Saturday night.

The fight at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace's stadium, is for Billam-Smith's WBO cruiserweight belt and both men made the championship limit precisely at 14st 4lbs.

His eyes flared wide, Billam-Smith once again turned a steely glare on Riakporhe who - stone-faced - refused to look away.

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Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe were locked in an intense staredown at the weigh-in of their WBO cruiserweight bout

As the fight, a rematch of Billam-Smith's 2019 loss to Riakporhe, gets closer both men have a point to prove, each eager to face down the other.

Security guards had to edge between them, a shirt was held up to block the fighters' view, but still they stared grimly forward.

"It's just a look," Riakporhe snapped afterwards. "He seems like a good actor.

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"I just want to give shout out to all the Palace fans. The energy is going to be amazing and I'm going to get this win."

But Billam-Smith warned: "We'll be ready to go tomorrow night.

"Get ready tomorrow night for an electric performance."

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Isaac Chamberlain and Jack Massey scuffle during their weigh-in for the Commonwealth Cruiserweight championship

Ezra Arenyeka, in excellent condition at 12st 7lbs, goes up against British boxing star Whittaker, who was 5oz over at first but made weight at the second attempt.

Arenyeka marched up to confront Whittaker, the same approach he'd used to get this fight in the first place.

'African King' Arenyeka was jabbing his finger in Whittaker's face, when the Briton grabbed him by the throat and shoved his opponent back several paces.

Whittaker, threatening Arenyeka with a punishing night on Saturday, condemned his opponent's "nervous energy".

Isaac Chamberlain and Jack Massey's confrontation was similarly bitter. Exactly on the cruiserweight limit at 14st 4lbs for their European and Commonwealth title fight, their hostility threatened to boil over as their pair flicked each other's heads and they had to be pulled apart.

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Billam-Smith got a cold response from Riakporhe when he predicted he will retain his WBO world title by knockout on Saturday night

Chamberlain took that as a sign of nerves. "Tomorrow night I'm going to show him south London's coming out," he said.

"We'll see tomorrow night," Massey said. "He's feeling the pressure."

The all-action Dan Azeez returns from a first career defeat to Joshua Buatsi. He fights Hrvoje Sep, formerly an elite international amateur boxer, in what promises to be a tough eight-round contest.

Azeez is on a mission though. "Just to go there and prove to myself and everybody out there that I'm still one of the top boys," he said. "I'm ready to come back and put on a performance for everybody."

Ready to showcase her skills, Francesca Hennessy scaled 8st 9lbs. Hennessy's familiar smile faded, only for a moment, as she faced off with opponent Dorota Norek (8st 7lbs).

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.

"I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night," Hennessy said. "Stadium fight - what more could you want?

"She's coming to win, she's tough. But I just believe the training and the way I am at the minute you're definitely going to see the best of me."

Other fighters in preliminary bouts on the undercard will relish the occasion at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Cruiserweight Deevorn Miller (14st 2lbs) fights Colombia's Edwin Mosquera (14st 3lbs), promising: "I'm going to show you some skills and knockout power."

Mitchell Frearson (11st 10lbs), who goes up against Marco Simmonds (11st 12lbs), called this "a real pinch-me moment", adding: "How many people do you think have boxed at Selhurst Park in the stadium?"

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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