CHRIS Billam-Smith will defend his WBO cruiserweight title against fellow Brit Richard Riakporhe later this year, Ben Shalom has confirmed.

Billam-Smith became world champion in May 2023, defeating Lawrence Okolie at Vitality Stadium.

The Gentleman then retained his belt in December, Mateusz Masternak retiring hurt during the bout at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Billam-Smith suffered a wound above his left eye during that fight, which is currently delaying his return to the ring.

But BOXXER promoter Shalom confirmed he will be taking on old adversary Riakporhe later this year.

Riakporhe (17-0) is the only man to have defeated Billam-Smith (20-1), during the Bournemouth man’s professional career, by controversial split decision in 2019.

Shalom, who said dates were being considered at either Vitality Stadium or Selhurst Park for the contest, told Sky Sports: "That's a fight that both fighters have signed to fight.

“It's a mandatory fight and it's guaranteed to happen next. Another huge fight in British boxing.

"They've both signed to fight each other.

“Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe will fight each other next and we're waiting on Chris to update (on his cut) and then we can announce the date.”

Shalom added: "It's something that Richard has worked towards a long time as people know. It's a rematch for Chris Billam-Smith, so it means a lot to him, the only loss on his record.

"A special fight in a division that's really thriving but also two guys that people really enjoy watching for different reasons.

"Chris Billam-Smith is a fan favourite and guy that always delivers entertainment and then Richard Riakporhe has phenomenal freakish power and it's just going to be an incredible moment, an incredible fight for both of them with so much on the line.

"To have an all-British world title fight as a rematch is massive."