At long last, South Africa-based Malawian boxer Isaac Chilemba has been handed a title-fight against Russian undefeated WBO, WBA and IBF light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on July 11 in Russia.
Chilemba confirmed the development on Twitter on Sunday.
He said: “Yes it’s happening! That’s the huge news. I thank Main Events for yet another opportunity for me to redeem myself and I thank my trainer Buddy McGirt for believing in me. I have met a lot of obstacles and every time I think I’ve got it right, I fall again, but I know my goals and I never stop following my dreams. When I received a call from (manager) Jodi [Solomon] regarding this opportunity, I was over the moon.”
The boxer has vowed to utilise the opportunity.
“I thank Sergey and his team for putting their titles on the line to face me. All I want to say to them is they are in for a surprise. They gave the wrong guy an opportunity. I’ll work my ass off and I’m in to win it. Russia here we come!” Chilemba said.
Main Events chief executive officer Kathy Duva also announced the bout on www.boxingnews.com.
Nicknamed “Krusher” for his thunderous punching power, Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs), will take on Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) to defend his three titles for the eighth time.
The pound-for-pound boxer, who currently lives in Los Angeles and trains in Florida, says he is relishing to fight in his home country.
“I’ve wanted this fight in Russia since I first won my belt,” he told www.boxingnews.com.
He also described Chilemba as a tough opponent.
“He [Chilemba] is a fighter who has never been stopped,” Kovalev said. “It’s my goal to stop him early.”
Chilemba last fought in November 2015 when he lost to Eleider Alvarez on split decision.
The fight will be held at DIVS Sports Palace, where Kovalev stopped Roman Simakov in 2011. Simakov died three days later from injuries incurred in that fight. n