BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Richard Riakporhe retained his WBA intercontinental cruiserweight title with a split decision win over Chris Billam-Smith.
The bout between two unbeaten fighters – with identical 9-0 records going into the contest at Greenwich’s 02 Arena – was a scrappy but still entertaining affair.
Riakporhe was guilty of looking for single power shots too often and also rushed in too quickly when he did have the challenger hurt.
But the Walworth man also inflicted a count on Billam-Smith in the seventh round – and that proved to be crucial when it came to the scorecards.
One judge gave it 96-93 to Billam-Smith with another going the other way – 97-92 to the South Londoner. The final scorecard – 95-94 – saw Riakporhe just squeeze home.
Both men landed some big shots but Riakporhe carried the greater power. The bout was a draining affair with both men grappling and threatening to topple out of the ring at stages.
There was too much clinching and holding but the clean work that was done by both men made it highly watchable.
It is the first time since his debut that Riakporhe has gone the distance.
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Cheques should be made payable to “MSI Media Limited” and sent by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online. Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Get the latest local news delivered every week!