World title boxing bout at Selhurst Park


Boxing event at Selhurst Park Image: Coliseum GSVA

World title boxing will return to Crystal Palace F.C.’s Selhurst Park home this summer as part of the stadium’s centenary celebrations.

DAZN said cruiserweights Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe will clash on June 15 at Selhurst Park with Billam-Smith’s WBO title on the line.

In collaboration with Crystal Palace F.C., promotional company Boxxer will host a night of must-watch championship fights as part of the club’s celebrations to mark 100 years since the official opening of Selhurst Park.

The 25,456-capacity Selhurst Park Stadium is a football stadium in Selhurst in the London Borough of Croydon which is the home ground of the Premier League side Crystal Palace F.C. The stadium was designed by Archibald Leitch and opened in 1924.

The venue is set to undergo a transformation in the coming years with a new Main Stand in the works along with a raft of other improvements.

Leading the billing for the boxing, big-punching Palace supporter Richard Riakporhe will get his long-awaited shot at world glory in front of his fellow Eagles, attempting to claim the WBO World Cruiserweight Championship title of Chris Billam-Smith.

With the full card to be announced shortly, the fight will top a stacked summer stadium show full of incredible match-ups, including some of boxing’s brightest stars.

The show forms the first major event in Selhurst Park’s centenary celebrations, with August 2024 marking 100 years since the official opening of the home of Crystal Palace F.C.

Legends of the sport have previously fought at Palace’s home ground, including International Boxing Hall of Fame member Len Harvey, who overcame British Empire champion Frank Moody in 1929 to set up a shot at the British title.

Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish said: “We are absolutely delighted that professional boxing is returning to Selhurst Park, with one of south London’s own and a big Palace fan, Richard Riakporhe, leading the billing alongside Chris Billam-Smith.

“Boxxer have put together a fantastic line-up for the occasion, and it already promises to be a spectacular night in SE25 – as well as a fitting tribute to our stadium’s centenary year.”

A percentage of the profits from the evening will go towards Palace for Life Foundation, Crystal Palace’s official charity organisation, who work towards improving the lives of young people across south London.

One issue that Palace for Life address is the rise of knife crime in the region, with the Foundation having developed a number of projects aimed at tackling the risk factors which can lead to serious youth violence.

Boxxer have previously worked with a number of anti-knife crime charities in south London, looking to showcase the power of boxing as a force for positive change in the community.

Boxing at Selhurst Park

As well as a number of pre-war professional bouts, Selhurst Park famously hosted a series of Charity Boxing Tournaments during the 1940s and ‘50s.

In the summer of July 1949, one such tournament featured six matches with boxers hailing mostly from the London area. The competition raised money for two Croydon charities: the Guild of Social Service and the Darby & Joan Club.

The highlight was the South Eastern Area Lightweight Championship bout between Tommy McGovern and George Daly, but the most popular boxer was local man Ron Pudney, who drew his Cruiserweight contest with Jack Taylor.

Most recently, in both May 2011 and May 2012, international amateur boxing tournaments took place on the pitch, featuring hopefuls from England, Ireland and Scotland ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.

Now, the professional sport will return – with a world title on the line – in what is certain to be a night to remember at Selhurst Park.

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