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This is my destiny – Richard Riakporhe ready to claim world crown in title bout

Richard Riakporhe wants to fulfil his “destiny” by beating Chris Billam-Smith to become a world champion in Saturday’s WBO title bout at Selhurst Park.

The south London cruiserweight is looking to repeat his 2019 victory over Billam-Smith during their rematch.

The 34-year-old, who was stabbed as a teenager, believes his journey has led him to this chance to win gold in front of a home crowd at Crystal Palace’s stadium.

“This will add to the legacy, I feel I have a lot more to do and this is the beginning of my journey,” Riakporhe told the PA news agency.

“This is 100 per cent my destiny. When it’s all said and done, people will see that this is not a fluke or accident.

“This is supposed to be. When you look at my journey, everything happens for a reason, we’re here now, in this life you get everything you deserve and I’m getting that.”

Riakporhe handed Billam-Smith his only professional defeat during a narrow split decision victory five years ago.

‘The Midnight Train’, who maintained he is focused on himself, admitted he does have a “psychological edge” over Billam-Smith due to his previous win.

“I’m confident because of myself,” he added.

Chris Billam-Smith raises his arms to celebrate after his victory against Lawrence Okolie
Chris Billam-Smith celebrates after his victory against Lawrence Okolie (Steven Paston/PA)

“Even though I’m fighting CBS again and I beat him before, I don’t like to rest on previous victories.

“I do think it has given me a psychological edge. I’ve done it before and I can do it again in better fashion.

“I’m focused on the real opponent which is myself and so once I’ve conquered myself in every aspect, I can’t be defeated.

“I’m a totally different kettle of fish. I’m a very dangerous fighter, not just because of myself but also because of the team I have in place.”

Billam-Smith executed trainer Shane McGuigan’s plan when he dismantled former stablemate Lawrence Okolie in May 2023 to win the WBO belt.

Riakporhe is unfazed by the threat of McGuigan’s tactics, insisting he can not fight for Billam-Smith.

He said: “I’m expecting a great opponent, someone who’s prepared diligently for me with a game plan from Shane McGuigan.

“The coaches can’t fight for you. He can take all the advice that he wants but it’ll be based on the fighter and whatever state of mind he’s in.

“I’m stronger, I’m bigger, I’m faster. I have great IQ, good footwork, I’m a proper fighter with heart. All of those tools are good to beat anybody in the world and so I’ll bet on myself each and every time.

“I want a win by any means necessary.”