Malawian boxer Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba returned to the ring on Saturday night to force a split draw with WBA Gold super middleweight champion Fedor Chudinov in Moscow, Russia, in a very close punch-by-punch 10-round fight.
The bout was a divisive affair as the three judges in charge scored 97-93, 95-95, and 94-97, a three-way draw. However, Boxing Scene had it 96-95 for Chudinov.
The result is a setback to Chudinov, who has won 23 bouts including 16 knockouts, drawn twice and lost once while Chilemba defeated his opponents 26 times with 10 knockouts but was defeated seven times and managed two draws.
According to boxingscene.com, the stalemate was the Russian’s first setback in three-and-a-half years.
A report on one of the world’s top boxing websites describes Chilemba as a veteran contender/gatekeeper.
To square up against Chudinov, Chilemba had to go down in weight after 10-plus years as a light heavyweight.
Chilemba, 32, last fought in December 2019 Alexander Kubich in Thessaloniki, Greece, a bout he won on split decision.
This was after losing championship affairs to Russian titleholders Sergey Kovalev in 2016 and Dmitry Bivol some two years later.
The boxingscene.com report states that both fighters produced their trademark performances with Chudinov stalking his opponent, gloves tightly covering his chin, opening his head for upper punches.
“Chudinov—despite showing some hints of technical improvement under a guidance of coach Vitaliy Slanov— was moving forward almost without any jab, relying almost solely on his power punches. Chudinov used uppercuts on the inside but hunted mostly for Isaac’s head rather than his body. Overhand rights was a sneak option for the Russian fighter.
“Chilemba, as always, was trying to keep WBO #9 and WBC #10 Chudinov at bay with his crisp jab, and he also peppered Chudinov’s defence with fast multi-punch combinations, which lacked power but were numerous. However, his best weapon in close quarters were body punches. They did little to prevent smaller but stockier Chudinov from coming in but they did slow him down a bit,” the report reads.
Chudinov is reported to have landed less on the inside and seemingly delivered less power but his timing was great and he was the one pressuring Chilemba.
“There were no knockdowns. Neither fighter was seriously hurt. There were no sudden twists in a flow of the fight just an intense, high-octane action for 10 very close rounds. Chilemba stays even at 26-7-3, 10 KOs,” the report concluded.