The World Boxing Council and Matchroom Boxing are delighted to confirm that Saturday’s bout between Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas at The O2 in London, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US, will be contested for the WBC Interim World Heavyweight Championship. The winner of the bout will become Mandatory Challenger for the WBC Heavyweight World Championship, currently held by Deontay Wilder.
Whyte (25-1 18 KOs) has been No.1 in the WBC rankings since November 2017 and has overcome all challengers since to blast his way towards a deserved World title shot. ‘The Body Snatcher’, hailing from Brixton in London, put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing ‘WAR’ Chisora in the 11th round of their brutal clash.
Rivas (26-0 18 KOs) is yet another dangerous challenger for Whyte to risk his World rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas traveled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “I’m very happy that we have reached an agreement with the WBC and this makes Saturday night even more important. Dillian Whyte has faced all comers in reaching his WBC No.1 position and now he stands just one more test away from a shot at the WBC World title – it’s all on the line this Saturday at The O2.”
‘Body Snatcher’ welcomes unbeaten ‘Kaboom’ to the capital on July 20
Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC at The O2 in London on Saturday July 20, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Whyte (25-1 18KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.
The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.
Rivas (26-0 18KOs) is yet another dangerous customer for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas travelled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders, with ‘Kaboom’ ranked at number ten with the WBC, seven in the IBF and a lofty five with both the WBA and WBO.
The Canadian-based 31 year old carried an impressive amateur record into the paid ranks, beating Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games a year after landing silver in the Pan-American games – and with 18 KOs in 26 fights since turning over, July 20 promises to be an explosive war between two in-form big-punchers, with huge stakes on the line.
“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.
“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him. I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.
“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one of the best venues in the world for boxing.”
‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender. He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.
“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”
“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”
“First I would like to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing who made a proposal impossible to turn down,” said Yvon Michel, President of Groupe Yvon Michel. “Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made.
“It might not be his turn now but instead he is extremely happy, to be earning an eventual World title opportunity, by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte. On July 20 a new star will be born!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Dillian Whyte is risking it all again as he battles the dangerous Oscar Rivas at The O2, which has become a happy hunting ground for ‘The Body Snatcher.’
“Dillian has already delivered exciting wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the same venue, but he could have his hands full against Rivas, the unbeaten Colombian with his own world ambitions.
“Expect another enthralling showdown when Whyte returns in the summer, and we expect to have a stacked card before a sizzling main event.”
RIAKPORHE: I’LL BEAT HIM IN EVERY DEPARTMENT!
Richard Riakporhe says he will beat Chris Billam-Smith “in every department” when he puts his WBA Inter-Continental belt on the line against the unbeaten Bournemouth man at The O2 on Saturday July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
After going the distance on his professional debut in the summer of 2016, big-hitting Riakporhe has stopped all of his opponents since with every contest bar one failing to reach the fifth round. With just nine fights to his name, the 29-year-old expects to become even more of a problem in his division once he has further refined his skills with trainer Mark Tibbs.
“It’s real power that I possess, it’s very genuine,” said Riakporhe. “You do not want to get hit, but now all these other fighters, they are going to start taking risks, because I’m boxing now, I’m not just relying on my raw power. The more risks they take, the more dangerous the fight is going to be for them, and they’ll get knocked out.
“I believe I’m the most dangerous, because I have the power and I have transferred my intelligence into the ring. You have to be wary of a fighter like me and I’m dangerous throughout the fight, from the first bell, until the last. You have to be focused throughout the fight. Any mistake you make, I’ll capitalise on it. Just one, that’s all I need.”
Trained by highly-rated coach Shane McGuigan alongside British champion Lawrence Okolie, Billam-Smith shares an identical record of 9-0 (8 KOs) and has also predicted a KO win in this weekend’s crunch Cruiserweight showdown, but Riakporhe holds no fear of ‘The Gentleman’ and is extremely confident that he will get the job done.
“I think Chris Billam-Smith is a good fighter, it’s just that there’s levels in this game and I feel that I’m on another level. He brings good boxing skill, he’s got a good coach in his corner, but once that bell rings he’s going to understand that there’s different levels of fighting. I don’t think he has been up against an opponent like me.
“All my fights and history shows that I have abnormal power and that’s likely to bring issues when we fight for sure, but we’re not only going to rely on that. We’re going to outbox him and beat him in every department. I just can’t wait to get in there and get to work. I’ve got tons of potential and fight after fight I’m learning news things. I’ve taken these big tests, I came into all these fights as the underdog, and my resume is looking quite impressive.”
BILLAM-SMITH: I’LL WEAR HIM DOWN AND STOP HIM!
In what promises to be an explosive encounter in the Cruiserweight division, Chris Billam-Smith challenges fellow unbeaten prospect Richard Riakporhe for the World Boxing Association Inter-Continental title at The O2 in London this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Billam-Smith, 9-0 with eight knockouts, has recently welcomed a new arrival into the McGuigan camp in Battersea in the form of 6’ 5” British Cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie, and the south coast native said he couldn’t have asked for better sparring in preparation for Riakporhe.
“When Shane told me Okolie was joining the gym I thought it was a good thing,” said Billam-Smith. “We’d spoke about how good Lawrence would be as preparation for Riakporhe before he joined and now he’s here it has been excellent.
“Okolie is so tall and long like Riakporhe, I couldn’t ask for better sparring. After our spars Okolie has given me some tips on how to get past the jab and avoid the big right hand so, yeah it’s been really good work and has given me lots to think about going into the fight.”
‘The Gentleman’, last seen retiring Yassine Habachi in Nottingham, insists he has spotted vulnerability in Riakporhe and plans to boost his ranking and reputation by taking out the hard-hitting Londoner in style on his PPV debut.
“Being a domestic opponent the excitement around the fight has really brought me on in camp. On paper people are saying that Richard is my toughest opponent but no disrespect towards him having sparred Lawrence Okolie a lot in this camp I’m more than ready for this test.
“Richard is coming off two good wins over Sam Hyde and Tommy McCarthy so his confidence will be sky high. I’m expecting the best Richard Riakporhe in this fight, this is my first big test and one that people really want to see. Someone’s ‘0’ has got to go. I believe it will be a physical fight but eventually I will wear him down and get the stoppage.”
Main event sees Brixton’s Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) risk his number one spot in the WBC against relentless and undefeated Colombian Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs), Doncaster fan favourite Dave Allen (17-4-2, 14 KOs) tackles Liverpudlian Heavyweight David Price (24-6, 19 KOs) in a must-win domestic showdown, former World title challengers Derek Chisora (30-9, 21 KOs) and Artur Szpilka (22-3, 15 KOs) clash in an explosive Heavyweight match-up, Canning Town’s Charlie Duffield (7-1, 6 KOs) clashes with Lewisham’s Dan Azeez (8-0, 5 KOs) for the vacant Southern Area Light-Heavyweight title, Lawrence Okolie (12-0, 9 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Cruiserweight title against Mariano Gudino (13-2, 8 KOs), Ipswich Heavyweight Fabio Wardley (7-0, 6 KOs) continues his march towards a title and Sheffield amateur star Dalton Smith (1-0) fights for the second time.