Chris Billam-Smith Bournemouth's big punching cruiserweight prospect SIGNED (silver sharpie) and dated (2018) victory celebration 8" x 10" photo.
Chris Billam-Smith vs Richard Riakporhe - FULL FIGHT
'I thought I won the fight' – Chris Billam-Smith suffers first professional loss after split decision heartbreak.
By Dan Rose
GUTSY Chris Billam-Smith suffered his first defeat as a professional but insisted: “I thought I won the fight.”
The Bournemouth puncher was on the wrong end of a controversial split decision loss against WBA Inter-Continental cruiserweight champion Richard Riakporhe at the O2 Arena in London.
Terry O’Connor scored the bout 96-93 to Billam-Smith but the other two judges ruled in favour of the defending champion.
Both fighters went into the contest sporting identical undefeated records.
Billam-Smith appeared the busier of the two fighters in the opening exchanges before defending champion Riakporhe showed his punch power with some useful shots later in the bout.
Challenger Billam-Smith was given a standing count at the end of round seven after powerful Riakporhe leaned on him in the corner.
The former Poole ABC man showed real heart by taking stiff shots later in the contest – the heaviest of which came from a brutal uppercut from Londoner Riakporhe in round nine.
Despite Billam-Smith celebrating with trainer Shane McGuigan after the bell, Riakporhe was confirmed as the winner.
Speaking to Sky Sports following the contest, the Dorset puncher said: “I honestly fought I won the fight.
“The knockdown, I don’t believe was a knockdown. It was a good shot but it didn’t knock me down.
“He hit me with three or four shots on the gloves after it, I rolled and he leaned on me. It wasn’t a knockdown.
“But respect to Richard. I knew he would underestimate me in that fight and I understand why, that’s why we were confident going in.
“That was probably 80 per cent of me. It was my first 10-rounder, my first title fight. I didn’t push enough but I was very comfortable in there after five rounds – I thought I was 4-1 up and maybe got a bit complacent.
“I hit him with some good shots, had him hurt and couldn’t get him down.
"Respect to him. I do believe I won the fight, though."