Malawian boxing icon Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba has within two years dropped 17 places from second to 19th on World Boxing Council (WBC) light-heavyweight rankings.
This has been attributed to three successive losses and a serious elbow injury that has reduced him to a sideshow for seven months now.
The former IBO super-middleweight and WBC international light-heavyweight champion was ranked 10th at the time he last took to the ring against Ukrainian Aleksandr Gyvozdyk in a North American Boxing Federation (Nabf) light-heavyweight title bout in November last year in which he retired after the eighth round.
The development means the South Africa-based boxer will struggle to get lucrative title bouts unless he finds his way back into the top 10.
However, the 30-year-old said in an interview yesterday that he is unfazed by his slump in rankings and his focus now is to bounce back.
“Obviously the rankings have negative effects, but I have picked myself up and my focus is to get back into shape and return into the ring better and stronger. I am not over the hill,” he said.
Chilemba has since stepped up his revival drive and left for Australia yesterday to spar with 14th ranked Canadian Blake Caparero.
“He [Caparero] is preparing for a title fight and I will be there for three weeks.
“If my arm is as great as it was when I was in Canada [for sparring] three weeks ago, then I will start looking for a fight,” he said.
The boxer recently hinted on switching to cruiserweight (also referred to as junior heavyweight) on advice from a United States doctor who operated on him.
Two years ago, Chilemba was ranked second but back-to-back defeats to Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez saw him drop eight places to 10th.
And his loss to Gyvozdyk coupled with a long-lay off has seen him drop further to 19th.
But local boxing promoter Mike ‘Bangwe 1’ Chitenje tipped Chilemba to pull through.
“Chilemba has a strong character and mental strength to overcome all these challenges.
“Once he gets back into the ring, he will definitely reclaim his lost glory. He has that enthusiasm and hunger that have helped him scale greater heights. All he needs is to remain focused,” said the Mulanje Last Boxing Promotions director.
Chilemba boasts 24 wins (10 TKO), five losses (One TKO) and two draws. n