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Isaac Chilemba can outpoint favourite Tony Bellew in O2 rematch

On the undercard of Carl Froch’s rematch with Mikkel Kessler is another revenge mission, as Isaac Chilemba looks to get the result his dominant display against Tony Bellew in their first drawn clash deserved. Bellew considered himself the moral victor of their first meeting and Coral make him the 1/2 favourite for the rematch, but the Malawian “Golden Boy” can definitively defuse “The Bomber” this time, landing odds of 13/8 in the process

The pair’s first meeting was fought out in front of a partisan crowd in Tony Bellew’s home town of Liverpool and the Commonwealth light heavyweight champion started with the wind in his sails against a circumspect Chilemba. Bellew was the aggressor for much of the opening five rounds, but seemed to lose intensity against his awkward and durable opponent at the end of that period.

Chilemba – roused by some stern words from trainer Buddy McGirt – turned it on from the halfway point to boss the second half of the bout and was left rueing his slow start when one judge gave Bellew the fight by a single point, with another calling it a draw and the third giving it to the Malawian 116-112.

Bellew’s early aggression clearly made quite an impression on the adjudicators, but in truth although he threw far more punches in the first half stanzas, flush contacts were conspicuous by their absence.

Their clash will once again act as a final eliminator for a WBC world light heavyweight title meeting with incumbent champion “Bad” Chad Dawson awaiting the winner and if Isaac Chilemba is to gain the golden ticket by beating Bellew he’ll need to start the fight with a fair amount more intensity.

The “Golden Boy’s” lack of KO power at this level – scoring just one stoppage win in his last 12 – means that he’ll have to outbox Bellew throughout the 12 rounds rather than the six rounds in which he did so in Liverpool and Chilemba on points is the prediction.