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Isaac Chilemba downplays win

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Pugilist Isaac Chilemba delivered a huge statement in his quest to earn international title fights after knocking out Mbaruku Kheri of Tanzania in the second round.

Chilemba dominated both rounds of the 10-round non-title light heavyweight contest in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday.

However, Chilemba said the fight was to keep him active but was glad to have won on his return to South Africa after fighting outside the continent for 11 years.

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“This was just a keep-busy fight, just getting back in the ring. From here will see what’s next,” he said.

Before the fight, Chilemba had lost four of his last six fights and won and drew once each.

Therefore, winning on return to South Africa was key to attracting possible matchmakers for potential title bouts.

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South Africa-based boxing coach Andson Kazembe, who followed the contest, said the Malawian was too good for his opponent.

“The manner Isaac connected the finishing combination punches and the angles he created while throwing the punches were simply too much for the Tanzanian,” he said.

Golden Boy, as Chilemba is known, has improved his record to 26 wins including 11 knockouts, nine defeats and three draws whereas Kheri, 39, has dropped his record to 18 wins including 15 knockouts and 11 defeats.

Chilemba’s career spans over two decades and he is probably Malawi’s biggest boxing star to have emerged after Drake Thadzi, who settled in Canada in the late 1980s.

The Malawian has won international belts such as International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation and Africa Boxing Union.

Recently, after a poor run of form, Chilemba wanted to retire from the game but rescinded his decision following the intervention of various stakeholders including Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board.

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