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THE prospect of fighting for the WBC belt has prompted Isaac Chilemba to vacate the WBO Africa light heavyweight title.
The "Golden Boy" from Malawi, who fights in Gauteng under trainer Elias Tshabalala, is rated 11th by the WBC by virtue of holding both the ABU and the WBC International belts. They are under the umbrella of the WBC. WBO's fourth vice-president Andrew Smale announced that they and Golden Gloves promotion and Chilemba's management had agreed that Chilemba would vacate the WBO Africa belt to pursue the defence of the WBC strap.
"It was an honour to have a fighter of Chilemba's calibre as one of our champions. We wish him well," Smale said.
Chilemba's manager Jody Solomons announced that her charge would defend on March 26 in London but said the opponent was still to be confirmed.
Tshabalala, however, was in the dark: "It's news to me," he said. "But I will go with the decision as long as his manager Jody Solomon and promoter Rodney Berman have decided so."
Chilemba was not available for comment yesterday. He made headlines here when he turned professional under trainer Nick Durandt in 2005. Together they won the ABU belt on September 13 2008.
Chilemba, under new trainer Colin Nathan, added both the WBO Africa strap and the WBC International belts in June and October last year. He has 14 wins against a defeat. Chilemba left Nathan recently and teamed up with Tshabalala.