WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) of St. Petersburg, Russia will make his third title defense against light heavyweight contender Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (25-5-2, 10 KOs) of Blantyre, Malawi as the co-main event on the Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev vs. Eleider “Storm” Alvarez card at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on Saturday, August 4. The event will be presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Groupe Yvon Michel and World of Boxing. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Bivol, 27, made his professional debut in 2014 with six straight knockouts. In 2016, he defeated Felix Valera to secure the Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Title. After the retirement of Andre Ward in September of last year, the WBA elevated Dmitry to WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion. In November 2017, he made his first successful title defense against Trent Broadhurst in Monte Carlo with a first round knockout. In March at Madison Square Garden, Bivol handed Sullivan Barrera his second defeat and first career knock out loss with a thrilling 12th round stoppage. This will Bivol’s first fight in Atlantic City and mark his third appearance on HBO®.
When asked about his upcoming bout with Chilemba, Bivol said, “I am glad that my next opponent will be a tough and well-known boxer in Chilemba! I will do my best to put on another exciting performance for all my fans!”
Bivol’s promoter, Andrei Ryabinskiy, of World of Boxing added, “Looking forward to another great event with Main Events! I believe Dmitry Bivol is a star in the making; he is very impressive!”
According to Bivol’s manager, Vadim Kornilov, “We are glad another great event will take place on the East Coast featuring two great Russian champions on one card. We had to go through many different opponents and finally were in a tough position trying to find an opponent that would fight Bivol. Happily, Chilemba is a good opponent who has proven to be tough in his previous fights. I’m looking forward to another great event!”
Chilemba, 31, who is from Malawi and fights out of Johannesburg, South Africa is no stranger to tough competition. After making his professional debut in 2005 at the age of 18, Chilemba quietly worked his way through the light heavyweight rankings. In 2013, he traveled to Liverpool, England to face Tony Bellew in Bellew’s backyard for the WBC Silver Light Heavyweight Title. The bout ended in a draw and less than two months later Chilemba returned to the UK to face Bellew again in a hard-fought loss. Then in 2015, Chilemba travelled to Quebec City, Canada to face Eleider “Storm” Alvarez to be the mandatory challenger for WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson. Alvarez defeated Chilemba in a close majority decision. In Chilemba’s next fight, he travelled to Ekaterinburg, Russia to challenge then unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev in Kovalev’s backyard. Chilemba stood toe-to-toe with the Krusher for 12 rounds, but lost via unanimous decision. After suffering an arm injury in his next fight against Oleksandr Gvozdyk that forced his trainer, Roy Jones, to stop the fight, Chilemba took nearly a year off to recover from the injury. In his most-recent bout, he defeated former world title contender Blake Caparello in Caparello’s backyard.
Chilemba said, “Firstly, I thank God for always watching over me. I thank my manager for never giving up on me, Roy Jones Jr. for all his knowledge and support and I thank Main Events for this opportunity. 2017 was a bad year for me, recovering from surgery and thinking that my career was over, but I’m a fighter; I couldn’t give up and I won’t give up. I’m going to take this opportunity and give it everything I have. A big thanks to the rest of my team and all my supporters.”
His manager, Jodi Solomon, added, “Thank you to Main Events for the opportunity and thank you to Isaac for fighting for his dreams. This promises to be an interesting match -up.”
Chilemba trainer, former world titleholder Roy Jones, Jr., said, “So happy to have this fight for Isaac. It’s a great opportunity at a great time. I look forward to a great night for Isaac.”
About Kovalev-Alvarez: In the first boxing event at the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev will defend his WBO Light Heavyweight World Title against undefeated contender Eleider “Storm” Alvarez on Saturday, August 4, 2018. In the co-main event, WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol will defend his title against Isaac “Golden Boy’ Chilemba. Tickets range between $50 and $200 and are on sale now through HardRockHotelAtlanticCity.com and Ticketmaster.com. The event is promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Groupe Yvon Michel and World of Boxing and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.