After being reduced to a sideshow for almost a year, Malawi’s boxing icon Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba is set to return to the ring on July 20 against Russian Maxim Vlasov in a World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Global title bout scheduled for Gelendzhik, Russia.
The ‘Golden Boy’, 32, last took to the ring against Dimitry Bivol on August 4 2018 in a World Boxing Association (WBA) light heavyweight title bout, which he lost on unanimous points decision.
In an interview from his base in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday, the former world champion said he is excited at the prospect of returning to the ring.
“The fight is confirmed and contracts have been signed. I will face Maxim Vlasov, the guy I fought nine years ago in my first fight in USA.
“He was undefeated and I handed him his first loss. He has been pushing for a rematch for sometime, but since I was on another path, I felt it was not necessary,” he said.
Chilemba said he changed his mind because Vlasov has moved up to the light heavyweight division from cruiserweight.
“He [Vlasov] has been in the cruiserweight category for the last four years. Now he has moved back to light heavyweight category and this year his team asked if I could fight him, but at that time I had an IBO world title fight, so we had to turn the offer down.
“Then he asked if I could go help him with sparring after he secured a bout which I accepted. My manager Jodi Solomon and myself went to Russia a month ago to help him. Then my fight in Germany got cancelled, a development that left us with no fight.
“Then as soon as we returned to South Africa, I received a call from Jodi saying she had received an e-mail from Vlasov’s team asking if we could get back on the plane and go get fight him a week later,” he said.
Chilemba said initially they refused the offer on technical and logistical grounds.
“So, we told them that we could agree if they moved the fight weeks later to which they agreed,” said Chilemba.
The boxer’s record stands at 25 wins (10TKOs), six losses (one KO) and two draws. Vlasov, 32, boasts 42 wins (25 KOs) and three losses. n