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Reputations on the Line in June

Reputations on the Line in June

June is going to be an exciting month for British boxers with fights being held around the globe. From Selhurst Park in London to Saudi Arabia, reputations and titles are at stake.

The month begins with Daniel Dubois in action against Filip Hrgovic. It’s a heavyweight clash that could well see the winner fighting for a version of the world heavyweight title in their next bout.

Dubois has already held the WBA interim and regular titles but is without a belt at present. 2023 saw him challenge Oleksandr Usyk for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles and for a short while he thought he’d won them. 

Usyk was knocked to the canvas but the punch that put him there was deemed to be below the belt. The fight carried on and Usyk eventually stopped the British boxer in round nine. He’s had one fight since then, beating Jarred Miller last December. Now he takes on the unbeaten Filip Hrgovic in Saudi Arabia and is at odds 7/4 to beat him in an acca deal.

His opponent is the mandatory challenger for the IBF title but is still waiting for his shot at the belt. He’s been in that position since beating Zhilei Zhang in August 2022.


Since that win he’s had two fights but this is his toughest since Zhang. With a Usyk v Fury rematch set for October, it’s expected the IBF will finally lose patience and declare their title vacant.

It’s looking as if the winner of this fight will take on Anthony Joshua for the vacant title at Wembley in September. Bookmakers have Hrgovic at 4/9 to beat Dubois but his opponent has a heavy punch and could well cause the upset.

June 15 sees a major boxing card being held at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace Football club. Chris Billam-Smith defends his WBO cruiserweight title against the unbeaten challenger Richard Riakporhe.

The champion is no stranger to having a world title fight outdoors at a football stadium. Last year saw him beat Lawrence Okolie on points at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. He now makes the second defence of his title. The champion relishes this opportunity to get revenge on his challenger.

In 2019, he challenged Riakporhe for the WBA Inter-Continental title at the O2 in London. Both fighters were undefeated but it was Billam-Smith who lost his unbeaten tag. Riakporhe won a split decision.

As is often the case in boxing, the three judges all had varying views on the fight they were judging. One gave it to Billam-Smith by three points. However, another had his opponent winning by one point and the other gave it to Riakporhe by five points. 

Billam-Smith responded to that defeat by winning his next ten fights winning the Commonwealth, British and European titles.

May 2023 saw him beat  Lawrence Okolie by a majority decision. Again, there was some crazy judging. Two of the three judges gave the fight to Billam-Smith by seven and nine points. The other called the fight a draw!! That’s despite Okolie being knocked down three times and having two points deducted. 

Now comes this long-awaited chance to get revenge on Richard Riakporhe. He may be the defending champion but bookmakers have him at 7/4 to win the fight.

 The challenger turned professional in 2016 and has won all 17 of his fights. He won his first nine fights with eight being won inside the distance. Then he had that controversial split decision victory over Billam-Smith.

Next up for Riakporhe was winning the vacant British cruiserweight title beating Jack Massey on points. It was nearly two years until his next fight. Last year saw him beat Krzysztof Glowacki who had previously unsuccessfully challenged Lawrence Okolie for his world title.

Last time out, Riakporhe beat Dylan Bregeon in just two rounds. 13 of his 17 wins have come inside the distance and he is going to give the champion a very tough fight. He is 4/9 to win this fight and become WBO cruiserweight champion. Riakporhe did knock Billam-Smith down in their first fight and he will be confident of beating him again.

The winner could face another British boxer. Isaac Chamberlain challenges Michal Cieslak for the EBU European cruiserweight title on the same card. He previously lost to Billam-Smith in 2022 in a rare fight where all three judges scored the fight the same.

Chamberlain is the current British and Commonwealth champion and is 6/5 to win the European title. Michal Cieslak is 4/6 to win this fight and has won his last five fights, all inside the distance. His only two defeats were both in challenges for a version of the world cruiserweight title. A close fight looks likely here with the champion slightly preferred.

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