With two days to go before South Africa-based Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba faces Russian pound-for-pound WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey Krusher Kovalev, the two boxers have engaged in a verbal war.
The 12-round fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world titles is scheduled for DIVS Sports Palace in Kovalev’s hometown, Ekaterinburg, Russia on Monday evening.
“I am so excited to fight in my home country of Russia. It gives me great pride to bring my titles home at last. I would like to thank my manager, Egis Klimas, my promoter Kathy Duva and Igor Altushkin of Russian Copper Company for making this dream of mine a reality. Chilemba is a tough opponent and I will be ready for him on July 11,” Kovalev, (29-0-1, 26 KOs), who camped in Armenia mountains told Skysports.
In response, Chilemba, (24-3-2, 10 KOs) mocked the undefeated champion that he has never fought a tough boxer.
He said: “I believe this is where I am going to show the world who I am and what I am made of. Kovalev is not invincible, he is not God, he is a man just like me. I will be the man to crush the Krusher. I believe I am the antidote to Kovalev. I am walking into this fight with only a few people believing in me. I am going to show the world. Everyone expects it to be an easy fight for him. I will put it all out there to ensure I get the decision. He has never fought me or someone like me though. This will be a very different fight for Kovalev.”
Chilemba is coming from two losses to Eleider Alvarez and Tony Bellew, but still believes he is up to the task against the Russian.
He is largely viewed as an underdog, but the Chilomoni-raised boxer thinks otherwise.
“As a professional, I have never fought at home in Malawi. I have fought mostly here in South Africa which is a foreign land for me. I have also fought in the UK, Canada and the US. That has made me who I am. I love fighting in someone’s home.”
Both Kovalev and Chilemba are promoted by Main Events.
But CEO Kathy Duva backs Chilemba to triumph.
“Isaac Chilemba is a legitimate top ten light heavyweight contender and he’s coming to win. He won’t be intimidated by the crowd. We know he is focused on the biggest opportunity of his career and we’ll see if he can capitalise on it,” she said.