Boxing Betting: Tony Bellew can shade the rematch against Isaac Chilemba

23May 2013



Tony Bellew faces a rematch against the teak-tough Isaac Chilemba on the undercard to the Froch-Kessler fight on Saturday night. Alex Steedman shares his thoughts on  the encounter...


On a night of rematch and revenge, Tony Bellew and Isaac Chilemba face off once again in take two of their world title eliminator. The first, drawn bout in March  raised genuine questions about Bellew's claim for global honors, so this is a career defining night all round.


A bit like the star bout at the top of the bill, Bellew and Chilemba are quite evenly matched and could probably fight several times without a decisive winner. It's  fair enough to have Bellew as favourite (1.67); he has home advantage and is likely to press the fight more than he did in Liverpool. But Chilemba (2.64) is a nightmare to fight; he's skillful, elusive and probably a shade quicker than Bellew. This is likely to make uncomfortable viewing once again both for Bellew backers and casual fans.


There is an argument Chilemba produced the better work in the first bout despite Tony's protestations about being 'robbed.' Chilemba boxed with great skill on the back  foot and made Bellew miss frequently but Chilemba fought like a sparring partner not a would-be world champion and that may have hurt him in the eyes of the judges. Is  it possible that a more positive minded Chilemba could win this? Chilemba is not a big, strong light-heavyweight, he only has nine stoppages in 23 fights, so it's  unlikely he can hold center ring or indeed push Bellew back. If he's to win, Chilemba has to be even more eye-catching than he was in Liverpool and that may not be so  easy second time around.


Ironically, Bellew seemed at his most effective when he found his rhythm and boxed Chilemba through the last third. Prior to that it was very much effort over art as  Bellew pushed forward but was often picked off and punished for his mistakes. But there is an important point to make here and that concerns how many of us - punters,  pundits or indeed judges themselves - view fights. There is no doubt that a fighter coming forward is generally perceived to be 'winning' whether landing punches or  not. There is sure to be an element of that with Bellew forcing the pace, hopefully with more zeal than before. It is still likely Chilemba will have his success but  he missed a golden opportunity in March through lack of conviction if not effort, and I suspect that Bellew will let his hands go this time.


The prize for the winner is everything, with a fight against WBC champion Chad Dawson in the works should he defend his belt in June. Both men are hungry, Chilemba  grew up frequently so and regularly sends his purse money back to his family in Johannesburg. Bellew can't match that difficult background but he trains like a madman  with the team at Everton FC and his performance is likely to reflect a tremendous desire. It will be tight, probably frustrating at times but I think Bellew will do  enough to edge it.


There's no doubt that Bellew has recently failed to deliver on promises as well as now-commonplace pre-fight talk. He was a knock-out artist early on in his career and  still has the power to do damage but better fighters aren't falling over these days. Bellew has gone the distance in four of his last six fights while Chilemba is  difficult to catch clean and has never been stopped. This fight has all the makings of another long night which Bellew can win by DEC/TD 2.3. There won't be fireworks  but that looks sure to follow when Froch and Kessler take to the stage.


Recommended Bet

Back Tony Bellew to beat Isaac Chilemba by DEC/TD at 2.3



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Keywords: Boxing Betting, Tony Bellew, Isaac Chilemba

Source: Betfair

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