Chilemba faces a tough one in Bellew

By Ron Jackson

The odds are stacked against Isaac Chilemba, who fights Tony Bellew in Liverpool, England at the Echo Arena on Saturday night. Chilemba, a Malawian who fights out of Johannesburg, challenges the local favourite for his WBC silver light-heavyweight title. The 30-year-old Bellew, from Merseyside, has a record of 19-1, including 12 wins inside the distance.

Chilemba, 25, has built up an impressive record of 20-1-1, 9 KOs since making his professional debut in October 2005. He trains at the Alan Toweel Jr gym in Linden, Johannesburg.

His only defeat was against Wilbeforce Shihepo in July 2007 when he lost on points over six rounds. He won the African Boxing Union super-middleweight title in September 2008 when he beat Charles Adumu on points. He also won the WBO Africa light-heavyweight title by beating David Basajjamivule and added the WBC international light-heavyweight title with a victory over Dodou Ngumbu.

After winning the vacant IBO international super-middleweight title against David Bolling he drew with the highly rated Tommy Oosthuizen to retain the IBO title. Many critics felt he won the bout. Chilemba then decided to campaign in the United States and impressed by beating Maxim Vlasov, James Bostic, Edison Miranda and Rayco Saunders.


But Bellew will be hard to beat in front of his fans. He won the vacant Commonwealth title in March 2010 when he stopped Atoli Moore in the first round.

He retained the belt against Bob Ajsafe and Ovill McKenzie and also won the vacant British light-heavyweight title in a return match with McKenzie. His only defeat was by majority decision against WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly.

In April last year he retained the British title when he stopped Danny McIntosh in the fifth round and later won the WBC silver light-heavyweight title by stopping Edison Miranda in the ninth.

In December last year he outpointed Roberto Feliciano Bolonti to retain the WBC silver belt.

Bellew, ranked #2 light-heavyweight by the WBC, has a good chin and is an aggressive fighter with good hand speed.

Chilemba is fourth on the rankings list. He is an accurate puncher with a good jab but tends to carry his hands too low. Both fighters have been knocked down by right hand punches.

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