Isaac Chilemba stayed in the hunt for a world title fight when he pounded Russian Dennis Grachev by unanimous points decision over 10 rounds on Saturday night.
The win in the non-title contest at the Sands Casino Resort, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, sees Chilemba inching closer to a World Boxing Council (WBC) mandatory and possible crack at lineal world light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson.
“We had good preparations. We knew he was going to come hard. I am ready for whoever is the best at light heavyweight because to be the best, you have to beat the best,” the Blantyre-born 26-year-old is quoted as saying by www.boxingscene.com.
In maintaining his 100 percent record on America soil, Chilemba, who is the number two ranked WBC light heavyweight boxer, won with the final judges’ scoring 99-91, 99-91, 100-90, according to www.boxingscene.com.
The website said the quicker Chilemba established the advantage almost from the outset and carried it through the first five rounds.
“Grachev pressed forward, but more often than not, was beaten to the punch,” reports the website.
It says late in the fourth round, the 31-year-old Russian appeared to be in a little trouble, but he kept his feet and pressed on.
A cut under the left eye was a sign of the action and it was easy to wonder if perhaps a corner-save might be in order.
Grachev held that argument at bay with a solid effort in the sixth round, going to the trenches and forcing Chilemba to work hard, adds the report.
In the seventh round, Grachev stayed on top of Chilemba, digging with the right hand while the Malawian worked his jab and kept on with the left across and underneath.
Following the win, Chilemba’s record is now (22-2-2, 9 KO’s), and (13-3-1, 8 KOs) for Grachev.
Shawn Clark refereed for the fight. Chilemba has now won back-to-back fights since losing to Englishman Tony Bellew last year.