Chris Billam-Smith believes Richard Riakporhe is refusing to fight him in Bournemouth - which would rule out a potential stadium showdown this summer.

‘CBS’ was ringside on Saturday night as Riakporhe moved to 16-0 by dismantling Krzysztof Glowacki inside four rounds at the Manchester Arena.

The cruiserweight pair came face-to-face in the ring afterwards but it remains unlikely that they will collide for an anticipated rematch this summer.

Billam-Smith had been hoping to fight IBF champion Jai Opetaia at the home of his beloved Bournemouth FC in late May but the mandatory challenge of Mateusz Masternak for that belt has muddied the waters hugely.

“I was expecting to fight Opetaia in the summer, late May, early June have been the dates we’ve been thinking about,” he told

“But then I see that Masternak and him are going to fight each other. I was a bit shocked to hear that, especially given the time frame between the two potential fights so I’m not really sure. It’s a bit of a fly in the ointment.

“I have no idea about where the talks are at this moment, I just focus on me. Their conversations are still based around fighting me in May, that’s been the plan all along. We just have to see how it all unfolds.”

Opetaia has not boxed since breaking his jaw during victory over Mairis Breidis, and is set to undergo surgery on a shoulder injury which will keep him out until June so Billam-Smith will likely need to find a new opponent for his summer outing.

Given they share an association with Boxxer and Sky, the rematch against Riakporhe would make a lot of sense.

Riakporhe inflicted the only defeat of Billam-Smith’s career back in 2019 when he edged a split decision over 10 rounds but the pair have since emerged as two of the stars of British boxing.

But Billam-Smith, who has drawn back-to-back huge crowds at the Bournemouth International Centre in his past two fights, has revealed there is already a major stumbling block.

“If it’s not Opetaia for the world title, Riakporhe’s the next best option,” he added. 

“Commercially I think it’s the biggest fight for me at the moment but we got offered to fight him in December and we accepted it. But literally a day later I was told he wouldn’t fight me in Bournemouth.

“So if it was to be in the summer it’s the same situation - I don’t see any difference in terms of him not wanting to fight me there.

“I’ve got a great fanbase down in Bournemouth so I need to fight down there, it doesn’t make sense for me to fight anywhere else, from my point of view, the broadcaster’s or the promoter’s. Tickets do really well down there, it would be a shame to step away from that.

“I could have signed with Matchroom, they offered me good money but they didn’t offer me Bournemouth. They couldn’t guarantee that. I showed in December, against someone that nobody knows, that it still sells, even when times are hard.

“I’ve got to keep fighting in Bournemouth. Also I don’t see his team wanting him to fight me before he fights for a world title. He called out all the world champions the other night, he’s just beaten a former world champion so from a business point of view, I wouldn’t want him to fight me next if I was his manager.”

However another man who has been linked with Billam-Smith in the past could fit the bill for an outdoor clash at the Vitality Stadium in the summer.

He said: “There has been talk of Sergey Kovalev in the past and he had a good win against Tervel Pulev in his last fight.

“I’m not sure what his plans are at cruiserweight but he is a huge name. He is well known to UK fans even going back to the Nathan Cleverly days and then more recently Anthony Yarde.

“I think it would be a stadium fight and I would be ready to go for him. The prime target is still the winner of Opetaia and Masternak but you never know with boxing and I’ll be ready to adapt to whatever comes up.”