BOURNEMOUTH fighter Chris Billam-Smith described as “irrelevant” opponent Richard Riakporhe’s verbal jabs and insisted: “He’s getting punched in the face.”

The unbeaten stars are set to collide at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday for the WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title.

Londoner Riakporhe, who is managed by heavyweight star Dillian Whyte, questioned Billam-Smith’s acceptance after fellow cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie linked up with the same trainer in Shane McGuigan earlier this year.

Speaking to Seconds Out, the title holder said: “I am under Mark Tibbs as a trainer.

“If Mark Tibbs introduced another cruiserweight who was in the rankings on British level - that is undermining my ability to do well in the field or to win a British title.

“I kind of see it this way. They may not rate Chris Billam-Smith that well. They probably wanted Chris Billam-Smith as insurance and want to stick with Okolie.

“For Chris Billam-Smith to just accept it and be fine with it, that shows a lot about Chris-Billam Smith.

“Me personally, I would be like ‘are you silly? Why is another cruiserweight in camp that’s in the British rankings at the same time?’.”

But the former Poole ABC man, who has been with the McGuigans since September 2017, has no interest in 29-year-old Riakporhe’s “trash-talk”.

Responding to the comments, Billam-Smith told the Daily Echo: “I think he must have been told something by Dillian Whyte that he has to talk more to try to build his name and all this stuff.

“It’s all irrelevant when we get in the ring on Saturday night and he’s getting punched in the face.

“I am not really one to trash-talk people. We are both human, both doing our jobs and trash-talk is not really my route.

“I will just let my hands do the talking.”

Asked about his relationship with Okolie, ‘The Gentleman’ told Gloves Red: “We are gym-mates now and he has been a great addition to my personal training. With the sparring and everything I am learning lots and we have both brought each other on.

“We are at different stages of our careers. This is my first real step up, he has had fights like this for a few years and is going to be moving on to European level and beyond.

“For me, I’m a realist, I have to prove myself this weekend, which I plan to do.

“Then I will still be on the domestic scene looking for the British and Commonwealth (titles) once Lawrence leaves them behind.”