The pride of Malawi, boxing ‘Golden Boy’ Isaac Chilemba drew with rival Tony Bellew in a light-heavyweight encounter at Liverpool Echo Arena on Saturday night after the judges could not find anything between them over twelve gruelling rounds.
Before the Liverpool bout, Chilemba had only lost one bout in his 22-fight career, drawing once, and he looked composed to win the WBC title eliminator.
Bellew started strongly in his attack throwing more punches than his Malawian opponent.
Chilemba slowly grew in response landing a number of body shots to seize the momentum and threw power-packed blows to dictate the closing rounds.
Scores were 116-112 Chilemba, 116-115 Bellew, and 114-114.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Chilemba said he deserved to win.
However, Bellew believed he had been robbed a victory in the final eliminator to decide the mandatory challenger to WBC light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.
“I did the best I can, everybody witnessed,” said Chilemba.
“I think I deserved the victory,” the Malawian boxer added.
Bellew who was fighting in front of his own fans at the Echo Arena claimed Chilemba’s trainer had told him, trainer Buddy McGirt had told him that he thought Bellew had won the fight.
“I believe I won,” said Bellow frustrated with the draw result.
Boxing pundit Scott Gilfoid felt Chilemba was robbed of victory.
“I had Chlemba winning 9 rounds to 3 in an even win over the constantly missing Bellew. Chilemba clowned Bellew in the last 8 rounds of the fight, making him miss constantly with his shots and backing him all the time,” pointed out Gilfoid of Boxingnews24.com argued.
“I thought Bellew should have been docked points for a head-butt and push after the bell in the 1st round. I don’t know how the British referee allowed this to happen without taking points off because that kind of thing should have led to a point deduction. Bellew held in hit in the 1st round, and that should resulted in him having points deducted.
“At the end of the 5th, Bellew hit Chilemba after the bell, and again nothing from the referee. It was pretty sad to see how he let all these fouls go.”
Bellew’s only professional defeat came in a WBO light-heavyweight title fight against Wales’s Nathan Clevery in October 2011.
The Englishman praised Chilemba, saying the Malawian “ is a great fighter. Very trickery, very slippery. He has got a blend.”
Amongst the notable sports personalities who watched the fight live was Everton FC coach David Moyes.
The two are likely to face a re-match.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :