Home News Chris Billam-Smith RETAINS his WBO cruiserweight world title after Mateusz Masternak retires...

Chris Billam-Smith RETAINS his WBO cruiserweight world title after Mateusz Masternak retires with a rib injury in the eighth round – as champion eyes bout against British rival Richard Riakporhe next to avenge his sole loss

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  • Chris Billam-Smith beat Mateusz Masternak to keep his cruiserweight crown
  • Richard Riakporhe, who beat Billam-Smith in 2019, is the mandatory challenger
  • Ruthless teenage prospect Moses Itauma is a star in the making – The Hook

Chris Billam-Smith held on to his WBO cruiserweight title by beating Mateusz Masternak – and could now set up a tantalising rematch with Richard Riakporhe. 

The 33-year-old fought through a frenzied contest with Masternak and the Pole had him on the back foot for long spells at the Bournemouth International Centre.

However, Billam-Smith found his groove and his body work in round seven paid a sweet reward However, Billam-Smith found his groove and his body work in round seven paid a sweet rewardas Masternak pulled out of the contest two seconds into round eight.as Masternak pulled out of the contest two seconds into round eight. 

Billam-Smith had endured a few gruelling rounds, and at times it felt as if the contest was sliding away from him, but he lashed a few powerful blows against his opponent’s midriff and that was the deciding factor. 

He admitted that a rematch with Riakporhe – the current mandatory challenger who beat Billam-Smith on points in 2019 – would be ‘amazing’.

Chris Billam-Smith beat Mateusz Masternak to retain his WBO cruiserweight title for the first time

Chris Billam-Smith beat Mateusz Masternak to retain his WBO cruiserweight title for the first time

Masternak pushed Billam-Smith all the way but it was ultimately the Brit's bodywork which paid off

Masternak pushed Billam-Smith all the way but it was ultimately the Brit’s bodywork which paid off

Billam-Smith told Sky Sports: ‘We’ll see [if I call him]. Christmas! I want to be undisputed. I would be very keen for that.

‘I never shy away from a fight. Me and Rich [Riakporhe] have boxed before but that was a different me.

‘It would be an amazing rematch. He might look at tonight and fancy his chances so bring it on.’

There were some punishing rounds for Billam-Smith against Masternak on Sunday. 

In the second, a duo of two-punch combinations from Masternak landed cleanly and in the third, Billam-Smith’s head snapped back after a rapid flurry of hits. 

He looked laboured in the fifth round and you wouldn’t be able to tell that Masternak, all of 36 years, was swanning through his 53rd professional bout. 

But Billam-Smith is a man who has overcome setback after setback in the ring and isn’t one to let a dream slip through his fingers like sand. 

Even while showing signs of exhaustion in the seventh round, he concentrated on the shots that he knew would pay dividends and got his reward in the eighth.

Could a contest with Riakporhe await? 

Richard Riakporhe is likely to be called as the mandatory challenger, setting up a rematch of their 2019 contest

Richard Riakporhe is likely to be called as the mandatory challenger, setting up a rematch of their 2019 contest

Billam-Smith has now won 19 of 20 career fights and wishes to avenge his loss to Riakporhe

Billam-Smith has now won 19 of 20 career fights and wishes to avenge his loss to Riakporhe

Ben Shalom, Riakporhe’s promoter, said his man ‘can’t wait’ to get in the ring with Billam-Smith. 

He told Sky Sports: ‘He’s been very, very patient. He deserves his chance. He’s worked his way up to mandatory positions in multiple governing bodies and he’ll be confident that he wins a world title next year.

“Richard will feel like: ‘Why is Chris Billam-Smith world champion? I’ve beat Chris Billam-Smith, I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do. I’ve knocked out most of my opponents.’