Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) is in for the fight of his life against the world’s fiercest light heavyweight Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) on July 11 in Ekaterinburg, Russia but the 29-year old from Malawi is no stranger to fighting in enemy territory. The grudge match between Kovalev and Chilemba will be for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles.
Chilemba grew up in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries but in order to make it as a professional fighter he left Malawi for South Africa. According to Isaac, “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.”
This road warrior attitude has contributed to Chilemba’s confidence as he prepares to fight “The Krusher” in Kovalev’s backyard. He said, “I love fighting in someone’s home. That is where I can prove to the world that I am not just a fighter in the ring but I am fighter in my spirit and my soul. I can go to someone else’s hometown and defeat them in their backyard.”
For the past several years, Chilemba has trained in the United States. However, for this training camp he decided to stay in South Africa. Isaac explained, “This is a new chapter for me. This is turning a new page. We have been chasing this dream for a long time. I came up short three times. This is not an eliminator fight. I am going straight for three world tiles. In order to win this fight, I believe I needed to be here. I needed to train here. I have all of the spirit right here. This is where it all started. I have got everything I need at my fingertips.”
Chilemba is coming off a controversial majority decision loss to Eleider Alvarez in Quebec late in 2015. Many believed it could have gone either way and one judge scored the contest a draw. After the tough decision Isaac believed he would need to start over again so he was surprised when he was offered this opportunity. He said, “This is something that I didn’t even dream of especially coming off a loss in Canada. I thought after that I was going to have to start at the bottom again and instead God blessed me with the opportunity to fight for three world championships. I thank God and my team for always believing in me and making this happen. I thank Main Events for standing up for me and never giving up on me even after a loss and still offer me such a big opportunity.”
Both Kovalev and Chilemba are promoted by Main Events. CEO Kathy Duva said, “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 capitalize on it.”
The July 11 bout between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba is a 12-round fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles at the DIVS Sports Palace in Ekaterinburg, Russia as part of the opening night ceremonies for the International Industry Trade Fair “INNOPROM-2016.” The event is sponsored by Russian Copper Company and Igor Altushkin and presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with German Titov Promotions, will be televised in the United States at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT (same day tape-delayed) exclusively on HBO.
Krusher Kovalev Prepares for Chilemba in Armenian Mountains
Ekaterinburg, Russia: WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev recently completed the first phase of his training camp in the mountains of Armenia as he prepares to face Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba on July 11 in his first fight in his home country of Russia since 2011. The champ will return to the DIVS Sports Palace in Ekaterinburg, Russia to defend his three titles as part of the opening night ceremonies for the International Industry Trade Fair “INNOPROM-2016.”
The event, sponsored by Russian Copper Company and Igor Altushkin and presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with German Titov Promotions, will be televised in the United States at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT (same day tape-delayed) exclusively on HBO.
This is the first time Krusher has trained outside the United States since he won his first WBO crown against Nathan Cleverly in 2013. For his much-anticipated Russian homecoming, the 33-year old from Chelyabinsk, Russia opted to change-up his training camp in preparation for Chilemba. According to Sergey, “I try to look for mountainous regions which provide the right elevation and terrain for my conditioning training (biking, running). Armenia is well-known for their mountains and terrain, plus it was also a good opportunity to get away from the attention, to focus solely on training.”
Kovalev was not alone in Armenia. He said, “The Russian Boxing Olympic team had their training camp in the same area (Tsaghkadzor, Armenia) as well, so I had good company around me, the right training mentality and focus level. Help from the local trainers and Russian national team boxers was quite handy with finding the new trails for my runs and biking.”
Although Sergey changed the location of training camp, his team and routine remains the same. He added, “I am known for sticking with my plans, for adhering to the established system that works for me. New places, but old routines. I will have my trainer, John David Jackson, joining me in Ekaterinburg’s sport base “Kurganovo”, along with my long-time friend and training assistant Eduard Abzalimov from Chelyabinsk and massage therapist. I will have my sparring sessions (will have three partners for that) and mitt work.”
It has been a long-time dream of Sergey’s to return to Russia and bring his belts home to his fans. He is grateful to those people who helped make his dream a reality. He said, “The main sponsor of the event, Igor Altushkin of “Russian Copper Company”, manager of the sport base “Kurganovo”, Vitaliy Kochetkov, and the governor of Sverdlovskaya Oblast, Evgeniy Kuivashev, have all put a lot of effort in exceeding all of my expectations with making the training atmosphere as comfortable as it could get. I am very thankful for their involvement with the preparation and making my team and I feel very welcome in Ekaterinburg. It truly feels as if the entire country is behind my back in this fight! I can tell I’m fighting at home. This support means a lot for me.”