Tony Bellew (19-1, 12 KO) will certainly have the home-field advantage when he takes on Isaac Chilemba (20-1, 9 KO) from Malawi on Saturday night. Born in the United Kingdom, Bellew now resides in Liverpool, Merseyside, and that’s where he will battle Chilemba.
Bellew hopes to use this bout as a stepping stone to a world title shot.
He already holds the WBC Silver light heavyweight title, but he has his sights set on the winner of the Chad Dawson-Adonis Stevenson bout and the WBC light heavyweight title, per ESPN.
Chilemba is no easy win, though. He has shown tremendous toughness, and he is trying to ruin Bellew’s plans.
Here’s how you can see these two talented light heavyweights clash.
When: Saturday, March 30, at 4 p.m. EST
Where: Echo Arena in Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
TV: Sky Sports in UK
Live Stream: WealthTV
The Book on Bellew
Out for Blood
Bellew likes the knockout. He has stopped 12 of the 19 opponents he has defeated, and he is clearly aiming to add another victim to his list in Chilemba.
The man from Malawi is known for his quickness, but Bellew is bent on getting to him. According to Gavin Glicksman of The Sun, Bellew said this of Chilemba:
He can be as flash as he wants, he can be as fast as he wants, but at some point he’s going to have to fight. He can’t come to my city and expect to tap me and run away and get a 12-round decision win.
I’m going to smash away until there’s nothing left to smash. It’s as simple as that.
An impressive victory would only add to the appeal of a Bellew-Dawson/Stevenson clash.
The 30-year-old is obviously focused, but he must be careful not to look past Chilemba in his efforts to go through him.
In the Ring
Bellew is a very hard puncher with one-shot KO power. Take a look at him eviscerating Danny McIntosh after a headbutt at the 7:10 mark of the video below.
Though he does possess explosive power, he’s an underrated boxer.
He has a heavy jab that he uses to keep opponents honest. The snap behind it far exceeds what some might describe as a flicking jab, and he employs good footwork to change angles and set up combinations.
He doesn’t have fast hands, though.
In his lone loss to Nathan Cleverly, hand speed was the biggest factor. Against fighters with quick hands, he will generally be at a disadvantage.
The Book on Chilemba
Chilemba seems comfortable fighting in hostile environments. He fought popular South African IBO super middleweight champion Thomas Oosthuizen to a draw in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa.
When Brian Campbell of ESPN asked him what he gained from the experience he said:
You have to put up 10 times better than you're supposed to do. That's what that fight taught me, because I truly believe I won the fight. But I fought him in his backyard and I had, like, 10,000 fans against me.
This Bellew fight is the same, as I am fighting on his home ground, and I'm going to make sure I am, like, 10 points away from where he is. I'm not going to let the fight stay close where they can take it away from me or make it a draw.
On Saturday, he’ll be hoping to get a better result.
In the Ring
Chilemba is not a big puncher, but he is the superior athlete in this fight. He has displayed great heart in the past, having gotten off the canvas twice to defeat Maxim Vlasov in February of 2005.
Check out the events of this exciting eighth round. Chilemba works his way from the edge of a stoppage to a solid round, considering he was dropped twice.
The 25-year-old’s defense can be a bit shaky, but he has long arms. When he uses his jab he can be effective, but he keeps his hands uncomfortably low and holds his head too upright.
He’ll need to improve in this area to steer clear of Bellew’s power.
Chilemba will try to move and use his speed and athleticism to out-point Bellew, but he’s ultimately going to get caught by a big shot.
He has a decent chin, but Bellew is too good of a puncher, and he will win by KO in the seventh round.
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