Chamberlain ready to ‘shake off the ring rust’ against Sen on Saturday


On Saturday, Isaac Chamberlain will prepare for his second fight in two weeks following an extended break of no boxing in nearly two years.

The English cruiserweight (11-1, 5 KOs), who is playing catch-up after contractual and promotional issues kept him out of the ring from October 2018 until July 2020, will face 33-year-old Matt Sen (5-2, 1 KO), from Wolverhampton, at an empty television studio in Wakefield, England. The show will be broadcast live on free-to-air Channel 5 in the United Kingdom.

The coronavirus shutdown, which saw sports events around the world postponed or cancelled for the summer months, extended Chamberlain’s ring exile to 22 months. However, despite the lack of fans, boxing has since resumed.

In that time, Chamberlain, 26, from Brixton, has seen his 27-year-old London rival Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs), move into world title contention.

Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs), who unanimously outpointed Chamberlain in February 2018, is due to contest the vacant WBO world cruiserweight title against Krzysztof Glowacki next, which could be held in London on Dec. 12.

Rather than wonder which route to take towards world title contention, Chamberlain wants to keep active after dispatching Antony Woolery in three rounds two weeks ago.

“After so long out, I’m just happy to fight twice in two weeks because I need to shake off the ring rust,” Chamberlain told ESPN.

“It was weird [fighting without fans], but great to box again. You can hear more without fans, you can hear how they are breathing. It’s quite cool. You can tell if your opponent is tired or if they are hurt to the body with a body shot.

“I’ve improved so much in the time away and I want to show how well I have been working with my new coach Rasel Hechavarria, who used to coach the Cuban national team, and Bobby Miltiadous. I’ve got a great coaching set up now and a new promoter in Mick Hennessy who has brought through world champions before like Carl Froch and Tyson Fury.

“I want to be WBC champion, it’s a dream of mine to have that belt, but we’re going to look at titles in the new year. Right now, it’s about getting the ring rust off. Twelve months from now, I expect to be somewhere around the world top 10.”

Chamberlain has already shared a ring with some of the world’s best heavyweights.

The Londoner has sparred with reigning WBA-IBF-WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua; U.S.’ Deontay Wilder, the former WBC titleholder; and Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, the former undisputed world cruiserweight champion now competing at heavyweight.

Asked who he believes is the best, Chamberlain, who sparred with Usyk twice in Ukraine in 2017 and Wilder in Alabama, U.S., in 2014, said: “In terms of boxing skills, I would say Usyk is the best, but in terms of speed and power I would say Wilder — he is very fast and explosive.”

Chamberlain’s next planned fights are set for November and December.

On Saturday’s same bill, England’s Alex Dilmaghani (19-1-1, 8 KOs) challenges France’s Samir Ziani (31-3-1, 6 KOs) for the European junior lightweight title.

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