Celebrated South Africa-based Malawian boxer Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba is next Friday set to face Cuban Osleys Iglesias in Poland in a unified title bout that will determine his future as a boxer.
In a telephone interview yesterday, the 35-year-old said his overall performance in preparation for the bout, which will see him fighting for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) international super middleweight and the World Boxing Association (WBA) belts, will determine whether to retire from his profession.
This comes over a month after he parted ways with his long-time manager Jodi Solomon on personal grounds and engaged a new one, Sean Smith.
“I am looking forward to this bout. I am fighting because I feel I still got what it takes to continue as a professional boxer and winning it will mean a lot to me,” he said.
Chilemba, who has been a professional boxer for 17 years, said the bout was initially scheduled for last month but it was delayed due to logistical issues, including the contract signing.
The Malawian pugilist did not win any of in his last two matches, having drawn against Russian Fedor Chudinov in February last year before losing on unanimous points decision in his last bout against Pavel Silyagin in a World Boxing Council (WBC) silver super middleweight title fight in November the same year.
He was recently quoted by The Nation as having said: “For now I’m targeting one to three more bouts” before he could hang up his gloves, but yesterday he said “that might happen sooner depending on my feeling after my next match”.
Chilemba’s record stands at 26 wins (10 TKOs), eight losses (a single TKO) and three draws.
He had his last victory in December 2019 when he outclassed Russian Alexander Kubich on unanimous points decision in WBC Silver Super middleweight title match.
On the other hand, his Cuban opponent 25-year-old Eglesias, who turned professional in 2019, has won all his three bouts.
But Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board president Lonzoe ‘Defector’ Zimba has pleaded with Chilemba not to quit boxing regardless of the result or his performance in his fight.
He said: “If you look at the history of other prominent boxers in the world, you will understand that Chilemba is still too young to retire. Most professional boxers retire when they are over 40,” he said.
“When we cleared him for his next bout, it was our wish that he should do well and keep representing the country on the international stage because he is an icon.
“Having some ups and downs in life, including some defeats, should not influence his early exit from the sport. He is still fresh and can come back to his best form if he keeps pushing.”