RICHARD RIAKPORHE is now in line for a shot at cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia.

Mateusz Masternak was the mandatory challenger for the Australian’s IBF belt, but the sanctioning body were told that the Pole has chosen not to go ahead with today’s purse bids. Riakporhe is the next available challenger.

Boxing Scene were informed by the IBF that the title holder has been ordered to negotiate with the Brit and both parties have 30 days to reach an agreement.

The news comes nearly three weeks since Chris Billam-Smith, a former opponent of Riakporhe, picked up the WBO belt after beating Lawrence Okolie by majority decision in Bournemouth. Overall the situation looks positive for the British cruiserweight scene. Okolie has a rematch clause to fight Billam-Smith again and should Riakporhe beat Opetaia it is possible that a unification could happen by the end of the year. The chances increase thanks to Billam-Smith, Okolie and Riakporhe all fighting under the Boxxer promotional banner and on Sky Sports.

During an interview with Boxing News in April Riakporhe spoke confidently of his chances of fighting for a belt this year.

“The world title opportunities will come, and I will be boxing for one this year,” he said.

Unbeaten in 16 fights the 33-year-old has looked every inch a genuine top contender since making his Boxxer debut in October 2021. Five fights and five wins have been racked up by the Londoner in that time including victories over Olanrewaju Durodola, Deion Jumah, Fabio Turchi and Krzysztof Glowacki. All of which have showcased Riakporhe’s bludgeoning power.

Opetaia 22-0 (17) has been out of the ring since his stunning win against Mairis Briedis 11 months ago. Injury and promotional issues have played their part. Yesterday, the 27-year-old southpaw took to Instagram to criticise Masternak and call out Billam-Smith.

“What a waste of time! He [Masternak] used to be a good fighter and now he’s a has been scared I’ll retire him for good! If you didn’t want the smoke, then why waste the last few months talking shit.

“@chrisbillam let’s make this unification fight happen! I’m ready when you are!”