Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) will return to the United States on Saturday, Nov. 19 to face dangerous light heavyweight prospect and NABF Light Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) in a ten round bout as part of the Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound for Pound” pay-per-view telecast live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The bout will be presented by Main Events in association with Top Rank. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Chilemba, 29, a native of Blantyre, Malawi fighting out of Johannesburg, South Africa, is coming off a hard-fought loss against WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. Isaac holds the impressive distinction as only the second fighter in Kovalev’s career to go the full 12 rounds. The only is future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins. In doing so, Chilemba managed to raise more than a few eyebrows among boxing fans and media.
In this redemption fight, Chilemba will have a tough challenge against Oleksandr Gvozdyk, 29, of Kharkov, Ukraine. Despite having only 11 professional bouts, Gvozdyk is a top-ten ranked light heavyweight in the WBC, WBO and IBF. Since making his professional debut in 2014, Oleksandr has defeated the first 11 opponents he has faced, stopping nine of them for an impressive 82% knockout-to-win ratio. In his last bout Gvozdyk secured his fifth straight stoppage and made his first successful defense of his NABF Light Heavyweight Title against Tommy Karpency in Las Vegas in July.
When asked about this match-up Chilemba responded, “Firstly, I thank Main Events for standing by me and for this opportunity. I thank my manager, Jodi Solomon, for always standing by my side and believing in me. I thank HBO, my fans, and all boxing followers around the globe. Oleksandr Gvozdyk, with a good amateur back ground, who is a highly as a rated and undefeated as a pro. I’m going to work with my idol, the person I look up to most, Roy Jones Jr. This is a huge opportunity for me to train with him, learn from him, and have him in my corner. Not only is he the greatest, but he cares and has love for the game. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring, and completing what I should have done in my fight against Kovalev, but 10 times better than ever!”
This fight will be the first time Isaac will be working with his new trainer and legendary fighter, Roy Jones, Jr. who said, “Isaac is a very exciting fighter with a lot of upside. I am very excited to be training him and be part of his team now. I look forward to seeing much bigger and better things from him in the future. He is fighting a very good opponent so we look forward to this challenge. I can’t wait to start to work with him.”
Chilemba’s manager, Jodi Solomon, added, “I am very grateful and happy that Main Events gave Isaac the opportunity to be on this card. I have no doubt he will come into the ring with as much determination and heart as he did against Kovalev and prove that he has what it takes. Also having Roy Jones Jr. in his corner I believe will only bring out an even better Isaac.”
Gvozdyk said, “I am really happy to have this opportunity to fight on such a big card like Kovalev-Ward. Thanks to Top Rank, Main Events and to my manager Egis Klimas to make my goals come true! Chilemba is a tough opponent and I am expecting a tough fight. It’s a good test for me and I will pass it!”
Oleksandr’s trainer, Robert Garcia, added, “Oleksandr Gvozdyk is an Olympic medalist with a lot of amateur experience, great skills and tremendous power. Chilemba is a very good fighter who lost a decision to Kovalev. I think Chilemba will bring the best out of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk is very dedicated and came to the USA to become a world champion and this fight gets him closer to that dream.”
Gvozdyk is managed by Egis Klimas who also manages Sergey Kovalev. Klimas said, “I want to thank our promoter and Chilemba’s promoter, Main Events, for giving us this great opportunity. A special thanks to Isaac for taking this fight right after his severe fight against ‘The Krusher.’ Isaac look good in his last fight and we hope he can bring the same kind of performance or even better to the ring on November 19. We are very excited as bouts like this one will make this great show better and better. See you in Las Vegas on November 19 or on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
According to Main Events’ CEO, Kathy Duva, “Isaac was a warrior against Sergey Kovalev. That was a tough battle for both fighters. Many fighters would have preferred a tune-up fight after facing Sergey Kovalev for 12 rounds but Isaac has the heart of a champion. He wasted no time getting back in the ring and demanded the toughest opposition we could find for him. This should be a great match-up on November 19 in Las Vegas.”
“This is a huge opportunity and a step up fight for Oleksandr especially fighting on this card. We believe he’s ready but there’s only one way to find out and we’ll all have the answer on November 19,” said Carl Moretti, VP, Top Rank.
Kovalev vs. Ward will take place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.