By Anthony Cocks at ringside
WBC #9 light heavyweight Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba 25-5-1 (10) overcame a slow start to run away to the winner on points against WBC #6 Blake “Il Capo” Caparello 26-3-1 (10) and annex the vacant WBC International title at the Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington, Australia on Friday night.
In a fight that pitted two rangy, defensive-minded boxers against each other it was the Australian southpaw who got off to the better start, using the full ring to evade the 30-year-old South African-based Malawian’s occasional attacks.
Caparello, 31, displayed good ring generalship in the middle rounds, landing right jabs to the body and lead left hands to the head before pivoting off the ropes and out of the corners.
With the WBC’s open scoring policy in place everyone in the venue knew that the local fighter was leading 77-75 on two cards after eight rounds and trailing on the third by the same score. For all intents and purposes, it looked like Caparello would win the fight.
But in the ninth round the Roy Jones Jr-trained Chilemba came out a different fighter. He pressed the action, cut off the ring well and walked Caparello into flurries of punches. There was a lack of urgency on Caparello’s part with his miserly punch output in the last four rounds eventually costing him the fight.
When the dust settled Chilemba was declared the winner by scores of 115-113 twice and a too-wide 117-111.
The victory puts the veteran former world title challenger back in the mix in the competitive light heavyweight division. It was Chilemba’s first fight in 16 months and his first victory in three years.
On the undercard late replacement Michael “Pretty Boy” Zerafa 23-2 (13) claimed the Commonwealth junior middleweight title with a comprehensive 12 round points victory against tough Brit Adam Harper 8-1.
The light-punching Harper walked forward all night which played to the aggressive 25-year-old’s strengths as he was able to repeatedly land right hands to the body and hard shots up the middle.
There were a number of warnings from the referee throughout the entertaining brawl but no point deductions.
Harper was set to face reigning Commonwealth champion Anthony Buttigieg 13-0 (3) for the title but the Australian was forced to withdraw after suffering a training injury, paving the way for Zerafa – who was set to fight on the undercard – to step up.
In a minor upset, Tej Pratap Singh 10-4-2 (5) forced Jake Carr 16-2 (6) to retire on his stool at the end of the sixth round of a fight for the vacant WBA Oceania middleweight title.
The Gerry Murphy-trained Singh was on Carr’s chest all night, forced the action and roughing him up on the inside.
After the fight Carr revealed he had perforated his eardrum in the lead up to the fight, an injury that was impacting his balance.
At heavyweight big punching Kris Terzievski moved to 5-0-1 (3) with a first round KO of Moses Havea 4-13 (1) in a scheduled six round bout.
Havea was in a bad way after the knockout, remaining on the canvas in the care of the ringside physician for 10 minutes while waiting for an ambulance to arrive to take him to hospital. Fortunately Havea was given the all clear and discharged from hospital Saturday morning.
Rising junior middleweight prospect Joel Painter upped his ledger to 7-0 (1) in a tougher-than-expected fight against Perth-based Belgium boxer Thibault Carez 1-4.
The card was promoted by Brian Amatruda’s Big Time Boxing in association with Sam Labruna.