BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Isaac Chamberlain is looking for an emphatic victory over Mikael Lawal next weekend to move himself a step closer to a rematch – and world title shot – with Chris Billam-Smith.
The Brixton fighter, 29, will collect the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight belts if he wins his October 21 bout which is on the undercard to the clash between unbeaten South London light-heavyweight duo Dan Azeez and Joshua Buatsi.
Chamberlain lost a unanimous decision to Billam-Smith in July 2022 when the Commonwealth and European titles were on the line. Since then the Bournemouth fighter has gone on to prise the WBO world title off Lawrence Okolie.
First Chamberlain (15-2) has to take care of Lawal (17-0) at Greenwich’s 02 Arena to keep his future plans in place. The pair were originally due to meet in late May but Lawal pulled out citing medical grounds.
There has been plenty of needle in the build up with Chamberlain ridiculing his opponent for withdrawing with what he described as “a tooth injury”. He also took a child’s pink toothbrush to a recent face-off between the pair.
Lawal, from Shepherd’s Bush, described Chamberlain as “a clown”.
Asked what initially sparked the animosity, Chamberlain told the South London Press: “Honestly I don’t know – maybe he needs to hype himself up to fight me.
“I don’t think there is any needle – but he acts like there is. I’m just reacting. It doesn’t make any difference to me because there is fuel on the fire for every fight that I have.
“I’m looking to perform and train to the best of my ability – put the work in – regardless of who it is. I think (the reason for postponement) is bull**** but I can’t really speak for him.
“He is tough and a very powerful puncher, his record says that, but we’re due to do a job on him.
“This is a very big fight. There’s been a big build up and it’s in London as well. It’s going to be an amazing experience and amazing spectacle. It’s on me to go out there and show the thousands of fans what I can do.”
Chamberlain has stayed local for his training camp – Afewee Boxing Gym, based at Brixton Recreation Centre.
“I’m looking for a statement win and a knockout,” he said. “Whatever round it is, as soon as I see his legs wobble then that’s it.”
Promotional company BOXXER held a public workout for Chamberlain, Azeez and Buatsi at Boxpark Croydon last week.
The headline acts both wore T-shirts stating ‘Lives not knives’. Fifteen-year-old schoogirl Elianne Andam was stabbed to death in the borough at the end of last month.
Chamberlain has spoken previously to The Guardian about being a drugs mule at the age of 12 and his cousin was fatally stabbed, a casualty of a fight between gangs from Brixton and Kennington. That tragedy led to Chamberlain’s mum taking him to Miguel’s, a local boxing gym.
“It is a very sad state of affairs at the moment with everything that is happening,” said Chamberlain. “It feels like it (knife crime) is on the rise a bit. They are shutting down the youth clubs and places in the community where people will know each other.
“We need more positive role models as well to influence these young kids, because I don’t believe they really have anyone to look up to.
“A lot of young kids can learn from my situation. If you dedicate yourself and put everything into your craft then you can make something of yourself. It takes a lot of discipline and determination – these young kids need that. Find something you love and don’t stop working at it.”
Chamberlain has spoken to BOXXER chief executive Ben Shalom about his career progression.
“After this fight we are talking about fringe world level,” said Chamberlain. “I’ll probably be challenging for a world title and then a unification against Billam-Smith – on Sky Sports Box Office.
“We’re two fights away from doing something spectacular – this is the start of doing something spectacular.”
PICTURES: LAWRENCE LUSTIG/BOXXER
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