SHANE MCGUIGAN says Richard Riakporhe should concentrate on fighting one of the other leading men at cruiserweight and not Chris Billam-Smith.

On Saturday night McGuigan trained Billam-Smith 18-1 (12) to a gutsy majority decision win over Lawrence Okolie. It was the biggest night of the 32-year-old’s career and played out in front of 15,000 fans at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.

Billam-Smith, Okolie and Riakporhe are all signed to Boxxer and Sky with the latter of the three Brits calling for a shot at the man he beat four years ago in a 10-round split decision.

Riakporhe spoke to Sky Sports about his desire to face the new belt holder: “That’s big and that’s how we kind of envisioned the rematch, on that stage, at that level. And what better time? The time is now. Why not?”

McGuigan, however, has his eye on a far bigger name and one that could even tick off another piece of Billam-Smith’s bucket list.

“Why aren’t you going after [Arsen] Goulimirian? Why weren’t you going after Lawrence Okolie?” He said of Riakporhe when speaking to Boxing News in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“It took Chris Billam-Smith to go and beat Lawrence Okolie for him to go cool, I beat you in the first fight.

“Fight Lawrence or fight Goulimirian or fight [Jai] Opetaia. Fight one of them! You’re not going to get the Badou Jack fight. Badou Jack’s waiting for Canelo and if he’s waiting for Canelo [then] CBS should get the Canelo fight! I’m not even joking. We won’t go to Guadalajra, we’ll maybe go to Vegas.”

The immediate future for Billam-Smith, after a rest, may lie in another fight with Okolie who was given a rematch clause as part of the deal. BN asked CBS about his thoughts on that and the future.

“He’s a proud man, he’s a winner at heart and I think that [rematch] makes sense to him and why wouldn’t you. You’ve got a world title opportunity again, it’s not like I’ve sparked him out clean. It was a messy fight at times, a clear winner. Yes, I hurt him. I’d expect him to want the rematch.”

Fighting at the Vitality Stadium was a dream come true for ‘The Gentleman’ who has become one of boxing’s feel good stories. It was a night to remember for the fighter, his family and their team. But what’s next?

“Next dream is I guess Vegas. I’d love to fight in Vegas,” he replied.

“Unfortunately, no American cruiserweights [with] world titles over there at the moment. There was talk of a Mexican [Canelo] coming up to cruiserweight once who does good tickets in Vegas! I think Vegas would be another bucket list thing.”

Not so long-ago Canelo had lined up a fight against Ilunga Makabu at cruiserweight. During the WBC Convention in November 2021 Canelo’s manager and trainer Eddy Reynoso submitted a request to challenge Makabu for his belt. The fight never happened.

Having conquered the super-middleweight division Canelo moved to light-heavyweight to challenge Dmitry Bivol in May 2022 but lost 115-113 on all scorecards. A rematch between the two is being pursued for September.