He received offers from two major sanctioning organizations to fight for mandatory positions. The first offer came from the IBF against Artur Beterbiev and the other from the WBC against Andrzej Fonfara. Although Fonfara may be unavailable to participate, Chilemba, the 28 year-old from Malawi, decided to stick with his plan to pursue WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson and forego the IBF offer.
Isaac has already earned the number one position in the WBC’s light heavyweight rankings. He won his last four contests in a row, including defeating previously unbeaten Vasily “The Professor” Lepikhin via a lopsided unanimous decision victory to become the WBC’s top ranked light heavyweight contender in the opening bout on the Kovalev-Pascal HBO World Championship Boxing telecast.
A grateful Chilemba said, “I’m very happy and glad that I finally got the chance that will lead to challenging Stevenson for his WBC belt. I’m more than ready for this opportunity. This is my second chance and I won’t let it go by as I did against Bellew two years ago. It took me a long time to get back to my spot and this time I’ll get my dream as I’m well prepared both mentally and physically. I thank God for this second chance because not a lot of people get that opportunity. I also thank my team, Jodi Solomon, my manager, who has stood by me through the ups and downs, Buddy McGirt, my trainer, for all the knowledge I am gaining from him and Main Events for taking me on and giving me the chance to prove myself.”
His manager, Jodi Solomon, added, “I believe Isaac has worked hard and relentlessly to try and get this opportunity and because of that he rightly deserves it. Under the guidance of his unbelievably knowledgeable trainer, Buddy McGirt, Isaac has begun to evolve into an incredible fighter. I know Isaac will be prepared and ready for the challenge. Thanks to Main Events, it wouldn’t have been possible without your support and efforts.”
Chilemba’s promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, believes Chilemba made the right decision, saying “I’m thrilled that Isaac is so in demand! He’s worked very hard to get to this point in his career. After carefully considering our options with Isaac and Jodi, we’ve decided to follow our original plan and pursue the WBC mandatory position. Isaac became the WBC’s number one ranked contender in March and has eagerly anticipated his opportunity to vie for the title.”