Dmitry Bivol vs. Isaac Chilemba a done deal for Aug.4
By Jim Dower: Dmitry Bivol is taking a stay busy title defense of his WBA light heavyweight title against grizzled veteran Isaac ‘Golden Child’ Chilemba on August 4. This will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The televised card starts at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 PT.
The fans aren’t too thrilled with the news of the 27-year-old Bivol fighting Chilemba, as they wanted to see the Russian fighter face bigger threats like Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Joe Smith Jr., Adonis Stevenson, Marcus Browne and Anthony Yarde.
The 31-year-old Chilemba isn’t old for 175lb fighter, but his career has hit a slide in the last three years with him losing 3 out of his last 4 fights since 2015.
Chilemba lost to Eleider Alvarez, Kovalev and Gvozdyk. Chilemba was competitive against Alvarez and Kovalev. He gave both of them a lot of problems. In the Gvozdyk fight, Chilemba never looked comfortable at all in getting dominated and stopped in the 8th round in November 2016. Chilemba broke his hand in that fight. However, he was never competitive even before the injury occurred.
Chilemba took all of 2017 off in healing from his hand injury. He came back last March in beating former light heavyweight title challenger Blake Caparello by a 12 round unanimous decision. I was a good win for Chilemba, but it still doesn’t cover up the fact that he’s lost three out of his last four fights.
Bivol-Chilemba is the chief support for WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev’s title defense against unbeaten Eleider Alvarez.
“I am glad that my next opponent will be a tough and well-known boxer in Chilemba,” Bivol said. “I will do my best to put on another exciting performance for all my fans.”
Bivol is coming off of his toughest contest of his career against Sullivan Barrera last March. Bivol wore down and stopped 36-year-old Cuban Barrera in the 12th round. Bivol seemed to tire himself in the second half of the contest from all the shots he’d thrown. However, in the 12th round, Bivol turned it on in throwing a blizzard of punches that caused the referee stepping in and stopping the fight. Bivol’s fight against Barrera was on the undercard of Kovalev’s last title defense. Main Events has been pairing Kovalev and Bivol on the same card, as they’re looking to eventually match them up against each other.
Bivol is looking like he might be the best fighter in the light heavyweight division. Unfortunately, he probably won’t get a chance to prove that for a while yet, especially if Artur Beterbiev signs with Top Rank. Getting Beterbiev and Adonis Stevenson inside the ring with Bivol may prove to be near impossible. Bivol may ultimately be his own worst enemy. If he keeps looking good in his fights, he may scare away he top fighters and end up facing lesser guys for most of his career. He needs Main Events to match him against Kovalev sooner or later, because adding his scalp to his resume will greatly increase his popularity.
“2017 was a bad year for me, recovering from [arm] surgery and thinking that my career was over, but I’m a fighter,” Chilemba said. “I couldn’t give up and I won’t give up. I’m going to take this opportunity and give it everything I have.”
Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov says they had a hard time finding someone that would agree to fight Bivol. They finally found Chilemba, and they’re thankful they got him, because no one wanted to fight him.