Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba has punched up from eighth to fifth on World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight rankings; a boost ahead of his final eliminator shot against Anthony Bellew.
The 25-year-old Malawian is the only African in the top 10 comprising fourth-ranked Canadian Jean Pascal, the Briton Bellew (third), second-placed German Eduard Gutknecht and American number one Benard Hopkins, according to www.wbcboxing.com and www.fightnews.com.
The others in the top 10 are Russian Demnis Grachev (sixth), Cornelius White (America, seventh), Sergei Kovalev (Russia, eighth), Andrezj Fonfara (Poland, ninth) and Ryan Coyne (American, tenth). The full list has 15 fighters.
Chilemba, who also competes in super middleweight, appears as number 13 out of 15 rated World Boxing Association pugilists. He is ninth on International Boxing Organisation chart of 15 fighters.
The latest ranking, which reflect his 2012 defeat of Edison Miranda and Rayco Saunders, should fire up Chilemba who meets Bellew in Liverpool on March 30. WBC is a prestigious world boxing sanctioning body.
In an e-mailed response on Friday, Chilemba said he was looking forward to being the world’s number one.
“This is big and I am looking forward to do it,” he said.
Coach Andson Kazembe predicted bigger things to come for Chilemba who is on the cusp of his first world title bout if he beats Bellew. The winner of the March 30 bout will meet winner of the fighter between WBC champion Chad Dawson and Pascal.
“Position five means he is in for bigger things. That is why the guy he is meeting is ranked fourth. I have always said it is difficult for Malawi to produce another boxer like Isaac who can take risks, come to South Africa and suffer. The potential is there, but they need exposure,” Kazembe said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg yesterday.
Malawi Boxing Association vice-president Henry Sakala yesterday, while admitting that his body has limitations to groom boxers due to lack of money, challenged up-and-coming pugilists to reach out for their dream through dedication and hardwork.
“Boxing is an individual sport that takes more personal effort, determination and focus. Chilemba should be worth emulating. It is not easy being fifth in the whole world. Netball celebrates Malawi being ranked number five. Boxing, too, has to celebrate Chilemba’s feat,” said Sakala.