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Friday, April 12, 2013

Chilemba-Bellew Rematch Scheduled for May 25

Light heavyweights Isaac Chilemba and Tony Bellew fought to a disputed draw (but really, how often is a draw not disputed?) on March 30 at Echo Arena in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool, England. The two men have signed to fight the rematch on May 25 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The bout will take place on the undercard of the rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler. The winner of Chilemba-Bellew II (assuming there is one this time) will be slated to fight Chad Dawson, the recognized light heavyweight champion of the world.

In the first fight, Chilemba (20-1-2, 9 KOs), suffering from the flu, squirmed elusively in order to avoid Bellew's early aggression. Attempting to conserve energy, Chilemba didn't throw many punches during the first half of the fight. But the contest changed in the seventh round as Chilemba began backing up Bellew (19-1-1, 12 KOs). Chilemba's punches were far more accurate than were Bellew's. It was a tough fight to score and each of the three judges chose a different result.

Christophe Fernanadez scored it 116-112 for Chilemba, Eddie Pappoe had it 116-115 for Bellew, and Fabian Guggenheim saw it as a 114-114 draw. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 115-113 for Chilemba.

A small sampling of other notable scores are listed below:
Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook had it 115-113 (7 rounds to 5) for Chilemba.
Michael Collins of East Side Boxing had it 117-111 (9 rounds to 3) for Chilemba.
British pundit Wingy scored it 118-113 (7 rounds to 2, 3 even) for Chilemba.
Jim Watt, an analyst for Sky Sports, had it 116-113 (7 rounds to 4, 1 even) for Bellew.

Both boxers were vehement in their belief that they had won the fight and both insisted on a rematch. Originally, Chilemba did not want to fight in the United Kingdom this time, but soon changed his mind.

About fighting in England again, Isaac explained to The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I'm ok with it. At first, I didn't want to fight him there because of the judging."

Isaac hinted that his change of heart had to do with a possible shift in strategy, saying, "This time, I won't leave it in judges' hands."

Chilemba, however, is not a knockout puncher and while Bellew has been put on his back before, he's always gotten up. In their first fight, Bellew's face was slightly marked, Chilemba's was not at all, but neither man was hurt or appeared to be on their way to the canvas.

Even so, Chilemba is confident and has reason to be so. He showed more defensive prowess, offensive accuracy, and class than did Bellew the first time around. His lack of punches thrown due to the flu was the true reason the decision was so close. Chilemba explained, "I'll make sure I won't get sick again and will school him."

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