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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Chilemba to Face Silyagin in Russia

Isaac Chilemba is scheduled to face Pavel Silyagin on November 12 in Moscow, Russia. This fight was originally scheduled for October 15 and then it was pushed back to November 5. It has now been moved back another week. Chilemba is a veteran who has assumed the position of high-level gatekeeper while Silyagin is an experienced and decorated amateur whose eight pro fights have all come since the start of 2020.

Chilemba (26-7-3, 10 KOs), a 33 year old resident of South Africa who was born in Malawi, goes by the nickname "Golden Boy." He has fought almost all of the best light heavyweights of the past five years. In terms of defense, Chilemba is one of the best of his era in any weight class. His ability to slip punches in the pocket is unique. He almost never gets hit cleanly to the head.

Chilemba is a cerebral boxer with a keen ability to counter and a smart jab that keeps his foe off balance. He has two weaknesses, though. He doesn't always let his hands go enough, and he often fights in the opponent's home country. In February, Chilemba fought Fedor Chudinov in Russia and was stuck with a split draw. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 96-94 for Chilemba. It's not the first time Chilemba's record was scarred by a hometown decision and it likely won't be the last.

Silyagin (8-0, 4 KOs) is a 28 year old from Novosibirsk, which is in the middle of Russia. Pavel has a high boxing IQ and can use a variety of styles. His favorite seems to be that of a volume boxer, an unusual combination. He moves, plants, throws a combo, and moves to the side to plant and throw some more. But Silyagin can walk down an opponent as he did against Orkhan Gadzhiev, in a second round stoppage victory back in August 2020.

Against  the previously undefeated Azizbek Abdugofurov in March, Silyagin primarily jabbed and moved. He switched stances frequently as he does in most of his fights. He's not fluid, but uses his awkwardness to his advantage. Silyagin had been pretty easy to hit in many of his first seven fights. He dominated Omar Garcia, scoring a first round KO in January, but even Garcia landed effectively to the body and through the guard to the head. Siarhei Khamitski, a game but mostly defensive 46 year old, was another foe who was surprisingly able to make contact with his punches against Silyagin. In their fight last December, Pavel scored two knockdowns in the fourth, though, causing his elder to quit in the corner after the round.

But the Russian fought like lightning in his last fight, a clash with Abdallah Shaban Pazzy last May. The Tanzanian couldn't lay a glove on Silyagin while Silyagin moved in the pocket and kept punching. In the fourth, Pavel landed a left hook from the orthodox stance while retreating and scored a knockdown. He dominated the entire fight to earn a shutout on the scorecards. Though Tanzania borders Malawi, Shaban Pazzy and Chilemba are worlds apart in terms of ability.

Chilemba has had only one fight since Silyagin turned pro. While Silyagin has faced good competition for a boxer with eight prizefights, Chilemba has more fights against top opposition than Silyagin has total contests. Isaac has faced nine fighters with undefeated records and at least 10 wins. That doesn't include his two bouts with Tony Bellew or two others with Maxim Vlasov.

This won't be an easy fight for Isaac, but Chilemba represents a Tyson Fury-sized step up for Silyagin. Don't be surprised if it turns into a high-level chess match. This bout is for fans of the sweet science, the bloodthirsty be warned. Chilemba-Silyagin is scheduled for twelve rounds.

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