Malawian boxing icon Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba has vowed to become a world champion again today when he takes to the ring against Dmitry Bivol in a World Boxing Association (WBA) light-heavyweight title fight.
The 31-year-old takes on the Russian this weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Atlanta City, United States and is relishing his shot at glory.
Speaking at a pre-bout press conference monitored on You Tube yesterday, Chilemba who has won 25 (10 KOs) and drawn two of his 32 career fights, said: “It’s been a long road to get here, I had two rough years.
“I am here to win and I am not gonna let it go. This time I am not gonna let it slip through my hands and I will walk out a world champion again come the 4th of August.”
He also hailed his team for their unwavering support.
“My team stood by me, they supported me. I would like to thank my manager, Jodi Solomon, for her good work. I want to thank Roy Jones. I would like to thank Dmitry Bivol for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank Main Events. I want to thank all the fans, Hard Rock and HBO for this opportunity.”
In Chilemba, Bivol will face a 13-year pro who has only fallen short in recent meetings with both Alvarez and Kovalev, losing majority and unanimous decisions in 2015 and 2016.
He held the IBO’s title at 168 pounds and defended once back in 2010, then drew and lost in a two-bout series with two-time light heavyweight challenger Tony Bellew in 2013.
In his most recent fight, on March 16, he beat former Kovalev victim Blake Caparello by a unanimous decision.
On his part, Bivol said: “I’ve seen his [Chilemba’s] fights. I’ve seen his fights against Kovalev, against Gvozdyk, against [Vasily] Lepikhin. “He’s a strong guy.
“He can work 12 rounds and he has good experience. I know he’s lost fights, but sometimes defeat makes you better. I know that he can move backward and he can move forward. He can do everything and he’s a quick boxer. But we train to be the winner, to beat him.
“We prepare full out 100 percent every time for every opponent. My trainer tries to make sure that the strong qualities get developed more and more and I get better and better at the things that I do well, instead of looking for the certain negative qualities of the opponent. Because we believe being more confident and strong and better at what we do will make us better in the fight against the opponent.”
Chilemba has never been knocked out and failed to last the scheduled distance just once, retiring with a broken hand against Gvozdyk after eight rounds of the scheduled 10 in November 2016.
The fight will be Bivol’s 14th since turning professional in late 2014, though his transition to fighting for pay came after a prolonged amateur run in which he won 268 of 283 bouts. He won a pair of world championships in the under-17 age group, a bronze medal at the AIBA’s 2008 Youth World Championships and Russian National Amateur Championships in both 2012 and 2014.