Chilemba, 28, was born in Blantyre, Malawi one of the poorest regions in the world. He moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2004 to pursue a professional boxing career. Over the last ten years since his professional debut, Isaac has very quietly climbed the ranks of the light heavyweight division. Earlier this year, he defeated fellow Main Events’ stablemate Vasily “The Professor” Lepikhin in the opening bout of the Kovalev-Pascal telecast on HBO World Championship Boxing to become the WBC’s #1 ranked light heavyweight.
Now, after more than a decade as a professional, Isaac is one fight away from achieving his dream fighting for a world championship belt. The only thing standing in his way is undefeated contender Eleider “Storm” Alvarez. Alvarez, 31, is originally from Apartado, Colombia but now resides in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Chilemba knows he is marching into enemy territory, fighting in his opponent’s hometown, but he remains unfazed. He said, “It really doesn’t matter where I fight. I don’t mind having no fans in the crowd but, hopefully by the end of the fight, there will be fans that cheer for me. I am just there to do my job. I hope everybody here in the US and Canada watching live and back at home in Malawi and South Africa will get to see a good fight.”
Chilemba admittedly knows little about his opponent and his trainer, former welterweight world champion James “Buddy” McGirt, warns against focusing too hard on the other guy. He said, “I have watched him. I study guys, but I try not to watch too much. Sometimes you have a tendency to study a guy too much and you realize he does something but then he doesn’t do that one thing and you are thrown. So I watched him but we are going to be prepared for anything and everything.”
Isaac and Buddy acknowledge that this fight is part of a much bigger picture, which is to challenge Stevenson for the WBC Light Heavyweight World Title. However, for now, their focus is on the task at hand – Alvarez. Chilemba explained, “As much as the goal is to get to Stevenson, right now the truth is my mind is on Alvarez. I have to get through this but after that we will be talking about Stevenson. I am just concentrating on one target for now but as soon as that is over then we are talking about the next target, Stevenson.”
McGirt continued, “The way I see it, Alvarez is the only thing getting in our way of the championship. Our job is to do what we have to do to get him out of the way.” Isaac’s manager, Jodi Solomon, added, “Isaac has worked very hard to get this opportunity. He is in excellent hands with Buddy McGirt and I believe he will do what needs to be done and we can move on to the next step.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, Chilemba’s promoter, said, “Isaac has worked so hard for this opportunity. We know this fight will be a tough battle and it’s no easy task to defeat your opponent in his backyard, but I believe in Isaac and his team. He’s been a road warrior for most of his career and I think all of that hard won experience will pay off in Quebec City on November 28th.”