Bethlehem, PA: Light Heavyweights Isaac "Golden Boy" Chilemba (21-2-2, 9 KOs) and Denis "The Pirate/Drago's Son" Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KOs) will face off on March 15th in the ten round Co-Feature on NBCSN Fight Night at the Sands Casino and Hotel in Bethlehem, PA. The main event features the heavyweight battle between Tomasz "Goral" Adamek and Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov. It's a fitting co-feature for the card billed as "The Crossroads."
Chilemba, of Johannesburg, South Africa, is coming off an eight-round unanimous decision victory over Ghana native, Michael Gbenga, at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on November 16th. It was the first step on his road back to the top of the light heavyweight division after two ill-fated bouts with England's Tony Bellew. Their first contest on March 30, 2013 ended in a controversial draw; many thought the "Golden Boy" should have won. In their second bout two months later, Chilemba lost a unanimous decision. Since then, he has changed promoters and has been working hard in the gym with his trainer, former world welterweight champion and Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year for 2002, Buddy McGirt. When asked about Grachev, Chilemba said, "I know he is a tough Russian fighter, he has been in the ring against some of the best fighters and defeated some of them. I'm looking forward to the challenge." He added, "I am going for the victory. This is my time, I'll destroy anyone who dares to stand in my way."
"The Pirate," who is originally from Chaykovsky, Russia, made his name by scoring a huge upset two years ago against Ismayl Sillakh, who came into their fight a lauded prospect and huge favorite. Grachev stopped Sillakh in the eighth round. After his big win, Grachev suffered defeat by unanimous decision to Lucian Bute in Montreal. He redeemed himself in the "Monaco Million Dollar Super Four" tournament by handing Zsolt Erdei his first defeat. In the final round of the tournament, he fell to Edwin Rodriguez in a disappointing first round TKO on July 13, 2013. When asked about Chilemba, Grachev said, "Chilemba is a good boxer, but I can hit hard." He added, "I want a clean fight."
Main Events President and CEO, Kathy Duva, said, "This whole card is shaping up to be a night of true crossroads fights. Part of what we set out to do with the Fight Night series was deliver these kinds of compelling matches where both fighters have to put everything on the line. We see that in this fantastic co-feature with Isaac Chilemba facing Denis Grachev, where both fighters are in a make-or-break position, and in the main event (Adamek vs. Glazkov) where we have an experienced veteran taking on a young prospect."
Tags: Isaac Chilemba , Denis Grachev