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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Chilemba Outworked by Osleys Iglesias

Isaac Chilemba lost by unanimous decision to Osleys Iglesias at Hala Globus in Lublin, Poland tonight. Chilemba boxed well, but the combination punching of the Cuban prospect carried the fight.

Iglesias, a 24 year old amateur standout based in Germany, attacked from the opening bell. Though a southpaw, he wisely used his jab early against Chilemba, a righty. The 34 year old South African-based man from Malawi spent too much time on the ropes and in the corner where Iglesias unleashed hard combinations. The two wore Paffen Sport gloves, which are usually known as punchers' gloves, benefitting the Cuban with perfect knockout record.

Chilemba boxed better in the second, which set the tone for the rest of the fight. Offensively, the "Golden Boy" wearing the golden trunks conjured up creative counters and potshots, but Iglesias's right hook-straight left combos negated all of Chilemba's efforts. Isaac's defense was slippery and shrewd. He used the shoulder roll, ducked, and slipped the Cuban's shots. But one of the best ways to combat slick defense is to throw several punches at a time with the intent of landing only one or two. Iglesias did this frequently while Isaac was far more judicious in his punch selection. Osleys's punches flowed effortlessly; Isaac's were intricately planned forays of brilliance.

The fight was similar to a U.S. presidential election. Republicans win many more counties, but there are fewer people in those counties. Chilemba's ability to keep the fight at his preferred distance allowed him to have more winning moments within each round, but his margins were slim. Democrats win far fewer counties, but they have many more people in them. Iglesias was often missing or getting countered, but when he trapped Chilemba on the ropes or in the corner, he did damage and connected with the much harder shots to carry the rounds.

After winning the first five rounds, Iglesias wobbled Chilemba on his way to a monster sixth. After Chilemba was hurt, he fired back with a nasty right to the body, but Iglesias then smacked him with a right hook-straight left combo and later a counter left.

The seventh was slower, but Chilemba just didn't throw enough punches. He won the eighth, though. His best strategy was to turn the contest into a cerebral chess match at range. He countered especially well in the round and the right to the body proved to be a good punch for him all fight. Iglesias even went down in the round, although it was from a slip that caused him to do an acrobatic backwards somersault.

Chilemba maintained the momentum with his smart brand of boxing in the ninth for the first two minutes. He then ducked, Iglesias threw a right hook which connected with the back of Chilemba's head, and he went down in a daze. It was scored a knockdown. He didn't complain.

By the end of the ninth, Chilemba resorted to covering up on the ropes counting the seconds down. His left eye swelled, and he appeared on his way out. Chilemba has only been stopped once in 38 bouts and that was due to an injury against the future legitimate light heavyweight world champion, Olexandr Gvozdyk. In this one, Chilemba showed the guile and heart he has had his entire career. He made Iglesias miss and landed a nice counter left hook and a hard 1-2 combo to take tenth.

Iglesias had only fought in parts of seven rounds during his first five pro fights, so he coasted in the championship rounds. Despite his great defense, Chilemba had absorbed a lot of Paffen Sport leather due to Iglesias's impressive work-rate in the earlier rounds. When the final bell sounded, Isaac looked dejected. Iglesias raised his hands in triumph. He had passed a graduate level course in boxing.

The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 118-109 for Iglesias. Polish boxing has had issues with integrity as seen in the Igor Lazarev-Dominik Harwankowski fight in March, but there was no way to mess up this decision... until one score was announced as 148-108! When the real scores were revealed, they looked more appropriate: 120-107 (from the Polish judge), and two cards of 118-109 (from the Danish and Italian judges).

The post-fight interview featured the rare double translation. The questions in Polish were then translated by the interviewer into English for Iglesias's wife who asked her husband in Spanish, and the process was then reversed in a game of multi-lingual "telephone." Iglesias is now 6-0 with 5 KOs. Chilemba, who briefly retired from boxing after his last fight, is now 26-9-3 with 10 KOs. If this is it for Isaac, he's had an amazing career.

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