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22 SEPTEMBER 2014

 

Isaac Chilemba: “I am Targeting All The Light Heavyweight Champions”


By Anson Wainwright: Malawi, dubbed “The Warm Heart of Africa” (where life expectancy in the African republic is just 50 years old), is landlocked Southeast of the continent and is home to over 15,000,000 people. It’s one of the least developed parts of the world with a high infant mortality rate. Rising light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba hopes through his ring exploits, he can raise awareness in his homeland. Recently, with three weeks’ notice, “Golden Boy” was called up from the bullpen, replacing gifted Yordanis Despaigne, to meet heavy-handed Edison Miranda on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights.” Chilemba, 24, impressively turned back the Colombian’s challenge over ten frames to record his most impressive victory to date, firmly supplanting himself in the top ten at 175 pounds. Currently he’s 19-1-1 (9) and ranked six by the WBC, 11 by the WBA, 10 by the IBF and 13 by the WBO.
Anson Wainwright – Belated congratulations on your recent win over Edison Miranda. Looking back on the fight now, what are your thoughts and comments on it?
Isaac Chilemba - It was a great fight, a little tough simply due the fact that I had a very bad cold.

IC - I was ready as I was due to fight on the 11th of February. I was happy with my performance; however, I believe my speed and power would have been better had I not been sick.
AW - What will you do now that you have just fought?
IC - Go home and relax for a week or two, then get back to the gym.
AW - Though it’s early days, what would you like to do next? What are your goals for 2012?
IC - My goal is to ultimately be the best in my division so I am hoping for an opportunity of a title by the end of the year.
AW - Who are the members of your team? Also, where do you train?
IC - My manager is Jodi Solomon, co-manager is Damian Ramirez, trainers are [from South Africa] Alan Toweel and [from Florida] Dan Birmingham and promoter is Lou DiBella; I train in South Africa and St. Pete gym in Florida.
AW - What are your thoughts on the current light heavyweight champions, WBC champion Bernard Hopkins, WBA champion Beibut Shumenov, IBF champion Tavoris Cloud and WBO champion Nathan Cleverly? Who do you consider number one and are you targeting anyone in particular?
IC - Bernard Hopkins is the most intelligent, clever fighter so he would be number one. I am targeting all of them.
AW - You fought Thomas Oosthuizen to a draw in late 2010. Looking back on the fight, what are your thoughts now?
IC - I won that fight. Every paper in South Africa agreed. It was in the promoter’s interests at the time that the score was a draw. Thomas in not in my league and I would love for people to stop building his career on my name and one mis-scored fight.
AW - Could you tell us about your early years growing up in Malawi? Were things tough for you?
IC - I was one of nine kids growing up in a poverty-stricken area. My mom was a single mother and life was tough for her and us in regards to money and food. I believe her hard work in trying to bring us all up is what has motivated me to succeed, no matter what. She taught me to fight for what I want and work for it, no matter how destitute we were.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing? Because Malawi isn’t known for its boxers…
IC - It was purely by accident. I went to play soccer with friends at a community gym and noticed people boxing in the community hall. I stood and looked through the window for at least an hour before the amateur coach [Andson Kazembe] invited me in to try. Andson taught me everything he could about boxing and even took me to live with him as my mom couldn’t afford us all at the time. He is also one of the reasons I am able to succeed today.
AW - Could you tell us about your home life? When you’re not training, what do you like to do with your spare time?
IC - I enjoy a quiet life. I like movies, music and being around friends. I am also studying at the moment, which takes up some of my time.
AW - You’re nicknamed “Golden Boy.” How did this name come about?
IC - Everyone at home in Malawi gave me that name. It happened during a fight in the nationals, in amateurs. The crowd started yelling for me as “Golden Boy” I think it was because of my skin colour; most Malawians are much darker.
AW - Who were your boxing heroes growing up and who do you enjoy watching today?
IC - Roy Jones Jnr. was my hero growing up and [Muhammad] Ali. I enjoy most top boxers in all divisions. I believe by watching them, they all have something to teach me.
AW – Finally, do you have a message in closing for the light heavyweight division?
IC - I am rising in this division and I will not stop until I reach my goal so I look forward to meeting them one by one in the ring.
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.



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