Chilemba talks Hopkins v Kovalev, open to facing Stevenson next
Isaac Chilemba stands on the cusp of a world title shot after the light-heavyweight contender put together a three-fight winning streak on the back of losing via decision to Tony Bellew in May 2013.
The 27 year-old from Malawi knocked out Cory Cummings in seven rounds in his latest triumph earlier this month and is now firmly in the running to fight for a recognised championship in the next six months.
Chilemba has focused his crosshairs on current WBC belt holder Adonis Stevenson now that Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev have agreed to fight each other and the ‘Golden Boy’ hopes a deal can be done in the near future.
“I would love to get the opportunity of fighting Stevenson for the WBC, but I don’t know if he is man enough to take the challenge,” Chilemba told World Boxing News.
“The same goes for Jean Pascal as he is ranked one and I am number two, and if I have to I would take the opportunity to claim that first position.
“If Pascal has already lined up his next fight, then I would really rather go straight for the champion (Stevenson) next. It’s my time to be a champion and I have got no time to waste.
“The last time I had a conversation on this matter with my manager Jodi Solomon, we agreed that we would head the Stevenson route and I believe Jodi been talking to Jolene Mizzone of Main Events and they both seem to be on the same page.
“I have been enjoying some time off, but I will sit down with Jodi about meeting with Stevenson’s team and the WBC to see what they have to say on my challenge.”
Some predicted that Chilemba would initially be in line to face WBO champion Kovalev after recently making the switch to the same promoter as the big-hitting Russian, although Hopkins agreeing to unify the belts has put a stop to that for the time being.
Chilemba now sees a close fight between 49 year-old veteran Hopkins and KO artist Kovalev as two of the best in the division put it all up for grabs this coming November.
“Hopkins v Kovalev will be a close fight and will be interesting to see how it unfolds,” said Chilemba.
“Hopkins is more of a boxer and can make a good fighter look ordinary, while Kovalev is just a heavy puncher so it makes for a good clash of styles. I think Kovalev has got the advantage of age and strength, but Hopkins still shows his magic so it’s a hard fight to call.”
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