By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
The big ones almost here people and soon the waiting shall be over, as this Saturday fans will pack London’s O2 Arena ahead of the eagerly anticipated rematch.
That’s right, Tony Bellew and Isaac Chilemba meet in a WBC eliminator for the second time after their action-packed twelve round battle back in March was scored an indecisive draw.
Ok, so the first encounter wasn’t really a classic, in fact rather a scrappy, fragmented affair with Bellew often frustrated by the tactics his tricky opponent employed. Chilemba was cautious and Bellew appeared to edge a number of the early rounds based on workrate alone with few punches landing, but was also made to miss badly as the Malawian produced the cleaner, better quality work down the stretch.
A return bout was called however with a victor needed to challenge the winner of Chad Dawson and Adonis Stevenson’s tussle in June and with nothing to split them last time out, both fighters will surely up the ante this time around. Each man will know he has try something different to change the outcome of the fight and both men are still hungry, with this final hurdle still standing in front of their dream of earning a world title shot.
Bellew (19-1-1, 12 KO’s) was under a great deal of pressure last time out fighting as the headline act in his home city and faced with an opponent as awkward as Chilemba it must have been easy on the night to become frustrated when the action didn’t follow the much hyped script. In London however with the focus on the Froch-Kessler main event, perhaps the big-punching Scouser will find it easier to keep a cool head and have more success in breaking through the visiting fighter’s accomplished defensive skills.
Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KO’s) has ideas of his own though of course and is never going to be an easy fighter to look good against. Also, having got the better of Bellew in the later rounds of their first bout, he may have figured out a plan to beat The Bomber. It’s hard to see past another close fight and in truth difficult to see how the styles will gel any better than last time, with another scrappy encounter probably favouring Chilemba particularly if he picks up where he left off from the draw in March.