BY STEFAN FROST
Brixton’s Isaac Chamberlain will return to the ring on Friday December 10 at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre as he hopes to earn a world title fight.
The 27-year-old will look to claim his 14th pro win and pick up the IBF International cruiserweight title in the process.
Shoulder reconstruction surgery forced Chamberlain out of the ring for almost a year but his return on October 9 ended in a comfortable victory over fellow Englishman Ben Thomas.
Chamberlain has made clear his desire to share the ring with the current WBC world champion Ilunga Makabu.
“I don’t want to look too far into the past or too far into the future,” Chamberlain told Hennessy Boxing. “I’m working in the gym and I’m learning. I’m still young with a lot of experience in and out of the ring.”
That experience has helped the Brixton native deal with a tough injury which has thwarted his rise to title contention.
“When I had the surgery, I couldn’t really move but I’m a mentally strong person,” he said. “I came through the storm, so I can go through anything. The biggest fight is with yourself and that gives me the minerals to go through anything in the ring.”
Chamberlain refers to the past year as the “growth period” where he found the people he wanted to keep close by his side during adversity. That mental tenacity is what underpins his approach to life as a professional boxer.
“When you think about why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for, you can go forever,” said Chamberlain. “You have to be mentally relentless. I’m growing mentally as a man and an athlete. When I’m focusing there’s no limit to where I can go”.
Chamberlain’s only professional loss to date was at the hands of fellow British boxer Lawrence Okolie, who now holds the WBO cruiserweight title.
“I’m happy for Okolie,” admits Chamberlain. “He came from the same hard background as me. This is life changing and it’s more than boxing. He has his road and I have my road and it’s still being walked.”
To ensure his own path is successful, Chamberlain has relocated his camp in preparation for the December fight to Birmingham, in part because his partner is currently heavily pregnant.
“I had to go so I could focus on boxing and have my rest,” he said. “My missus is great – she understands the sacrifices I’m making and having someone like that is so important to your success.
“When the baby is born I’ll drive back to spend some days with the child and then go back to training. It’ll make me be more aggressive in the ring. I’ll think if I don’t hunt, my son doesn’t eat.”
With the fight scheduled to take place in Crystal Palace, Chamberlain will be back in front of a South London crowd, fighting alongside Irish youngsters Stevie and Aaron McKenna, who are both competing in youth title fights.
The head-to-head press conference for the fight will take place on Tuesday December 7 at 6.30pm and the fight is exclusively live on Channel 5.
PICTURES: LAWRENCE LUSTIG
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.