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Isaac Chilemba fails to leave for fight due to coronavirus

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Boxing sensation Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba is keeping his fingers crossed ahead of an eight-round non-title fight against Russian pugilist Fedor Chudinov slated for Saturday.

The Malawian was supposed to leave his base in Johannesburg, South Africa,

on Saturday but failed to do so because of flights cancellation due to coronavirus which the World Health Organisation has declared a pandemic.

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Chilemba, in a telephone interview Sunday, said they were making alternative arrangements after failing to leave on Saturday.

“We were meant to leave yesterday [Saturday] but due to coronavirus, most airlines are closed and restricted especially to overseas travelers. I was on the phone with them in Russia earlier, and they are trying for tonight [Sunday] or tomorrow [Monday].

“If we are not out by Tuesday [tomorrow], we are cancelling the fight because I cannot fly in two or three days before the fight. I won’t have time to recover from 18 hours plus flight and fight. I need more than four days to get rid of jet lag for the body to perform,” he said.

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Nevertheless, Chilemba was treading cautiously following the coronavirus as alternatives flights were not ideal.

There’s no way we can fly across the world for more than 24 hours just to get to Russia which is 14 hours away.

“And also the bigges t challenge is the virus issue which is delaying the process. We even agreed to go through all the tests and protection process, but as for now we have no idea of what’s happening. The fight is still 100 percent happening though. I think they [promoters] are having problems with other opponents as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former World Boxing Council (WBC) International Light Heavyweight champion said his preparations were on track.

“My training has been great. I pushed weight using quick method of liquid food all week. [The] same food I eat, just blend it with liquid to digest and pass quickly and it worked. Now I have a kg and half to go, which I can do in two days to weigh-in,” he said.

The 32-year-old South Africa-based Malawian took a double risk after accepting a late offer for a lower weight category.

Chilemba belongs to the light heavyweight category which ranges from 76.20 to 79.36 kilogrammes (kg), but is up against the Russian who belongs to the super middle weight (72- 76.20 kg).

Golden Boy last fought in December when he defeated Alexander Kubich in PAOK Sports Arena, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Prior to that, Chilemba lost to Maksim Vlasov in a double header title fight.

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