Isaac Chilemba vs Vasily Lepikhin Preview March 14th
Isaac Chilemba of South Africa will be taking on undefeated Vasily Lepikhin of Russia at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada this Saturday, March 14th in a 12-round light heavyweight tilt. Chilemba will enter the ring with a record of 23-2-2 along with 10 Kos while Lepikhin is perfect so far in his pro career at 17-0-0 with 9 Kos. The fight for the vacant NABF Title can be seen on HBO in the USA and on pay per view in Canada as a part of the Sergey Kovalev vs Jean Pascal undercard for the light heavyweight crown.
The 27-year-old Chilemba is a bit of a technical fighter while the 29-year-old Lepikhin is more of a boxer/puncher. Chilemba’s an exciting fighter though even though he doesn’t have a lot of power and this is basically because he has a pretty good chin. He’s also has a lot of endurance and a decent defence and doesn’t mind mixing it up when he has to. He likes to use the jab and is an accurate puncher. Lepikhin also has a good chin and uses powerful combinations to wear his opponents down and doesn’t mind trading shots either.
If there is a weakness to Chilemba’s game it’s his lack of power. Most of his fights go the distance as he’s recorded just one stoppage since 2011 and he’s gone 12 rounds eight times so far. Lepikhin won’t hesitate to slug it out with Chilemba, but he needs to make sure he isn’t getting picked off all night long with his opponent’s accuracy. Chilemba has fought some decent boxers so far such as Tony Bellew and Edison Miranda, but he lost and drew in his bouts with Bellew. Lepikhin hasn’t faced the same level of opposition and this will be a step up in class for him.
The Russian is developing his power and this is where he’ll have his biggest advantage. He digs to the body and three of his past four stoppages have come in the opening round. Both fighters have good speed with Chilemba having slightly better footwork and counterpunching skills. Chilemba hasn’t been stopped, but has been dropped while Lepikhin will try for a knockout if he senses his opponent is hurt. He needs to test himself by stepping up in class and the underrated Chilemba should prove to be a tough customer.
Lepikhin is a big light heavyweight at just over 6-feet-3-inches tall, but he doesn’t fight like one. He’d rather mix it up than use his boxing skills and size advantage. He’s going to have his hands full with the experienced Chilemba and will find himself in trouble if the South African can take his power shots. Chilemba doesn’t have enough power to keep Lepikhin from being the aggressor and that could be his downfall. However, Chilemba has no problem going the distance and if his chin holds up he could very well take this fight on points. There should be some decent action here and it’s a tough one to call. I see Chilemba staying on his feet and taking a decision.
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