Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera close in on world title shots
Last week Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-2-2, 10 KOs) had the very rare privilege of choosing between two mandatory offers: one from the WBC and the other from the IBF.
The 28-year old from Malawi opted to take the offer from the WBC. Shortly thereafter, the IBF extended the mandatory fight offer to Main Events’ stablemate Sullivan Barrera (16-0, 11 KOs), the 33-year old Cuban defector.
Chilemba formally accepted the the WBC elimination bout against Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (18-0, 10 KOs) of Apartado, Colombia and Yvon Michel, Alvarez’s promoter, formally accepted for Alvarez. The winner of this fight will be poised as the WBC’s mandatory challenger in the light heavyweight division and will have their shot at current WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion, Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (26-1, 21 KOs).
Regarding Alvarez, Chilemba said, “I’m very happy that he accepted that challenge. I’m not taking Alvarez lightly, he is a good fighter all round. I know he wants to be a champion himself, unfortunately not this time as this is my time. By the time we meet, I’ll be 100% ready and, even though my mind is fully focused on the present opportunity, it brings me closer to that WBC championship I have been working so hard to get to. Just that is what will drive me into leaving nothing to chance when I face Alvarez. I really appreciate the great work of my team getting me where I am today.”
His manager, Jodi Solomon added, “I want to thank Alvarez and his team for accepting the fight. Isaac has wanted this opportunity for the longest time and I believe with Buddy [McGirt] in his corner, nothing will be left to chance. Thank you also to Main Events for helping to get Isaac this opportunity.”
Last week, Barrera formally accepted his offer from the IBF to face Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) for the mandatory position in the IBF. The winner will face WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs).
An eager Barrera said, “I’m excited to finally get my opportunity. I’m looking forward to the fight. I don’t know anything about Beterbiev. Only thing I know is to get to the top I have to beat him. Looking forward to the opportunity.”
Sullivan is trained by world renowned trainer, Abel Sanchez, who is best known for training current IBF and WBA Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. When asked about this opportunity, Sanchez replied, “Warriors understand greatness is only reached when you challenge yourself. Sullivan Barrera is a warrior wanting to be champion and knows that fighting the perceived best is the fastest way to your dreams coming true.”
Main Events CEO, Kathy Duva, who promotes Chilemba, Barrera and Kovalev, said, “We’ve been focused on the light heavyweight division for the past few years. I’m delighted that so many of our efforts are paying off at the same time and that Isaac and Sullivan are finally getting the opportunities that they’ve earned and have been waiting for. Yvon (Michel, who promotes both Beterbiev and Alvarez) and I have a lot to talk about! I’ve reached out for him and expect that we’ll begin negotiations over the weekend.”