Isaac Chamberlain celebrates his success. Trainer/coach Bobby Mills is third from right
By Clayton Goodwin
Isaac Chamberlain, 29 years-old, took the British and vacant Commonwealth cruiserweight titles on a one-sided decision against the hitherto unbeaten Mikael Lawal at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London. Lawal, who sought to sway outcome by landing one heavy punch, hardly got into the action as Chamberlain poked and prodded to sound effect and used his feet adroitly to prevent his rival from gauging the correct distance from his punches. Even when Mikael did land cleanly – in the eighth round – it had no real effect. Isaac was encouraged by an enthusiastic following, especially from South London, and from the Afewee club in Brixton. He had gained much sympathy or his original scheduled fight with Lawal have been cancelled and, himself, continuing with an injured in his losing challenge to Chris Billam-Smith for the European and Commonwealth crowns.
Chamberlain finds himself as titular head of an extremely talented domestic division. Old rivals Billan-Smith and Lawrence Okolie, the only two men to have defeated him professionally, are respectively the current and previous WBO-recognised world champion, and Richard Riakporhe, rated above him internationally and unbeaten Chevon Clarke, Ellis Zorro and British champion Viddal Riley coming up strongly. There seem to be some automatic attractive matches – although Isaac may prefer to wait before taking on the other pretenders to the world crown, including Jai Opetaia, the Australian who put paid decisively to the title aspirations of Jordan Thompson. Even so, on this form, Isaac Chamberlain would be fancied to give a good account of himself against the very best.
“I’m just grateful,” Chamberlain told iFL TV. “I’m grateful to God. I’m blessed to be in this position to even compete for this title. Every dog has its day, man. The fight played out as I expected. I nearly got caught a few times. He’s a very hard puncher. But I had to stay smart. I had to stick to the game plan, which I did.”
Isaac said conversation with Sky Sports: “Despite a short amateur career spanning nine fights, I kept pushing boundaries. Back in the day, battling low self-esteem, I always trusted my skills. Facing some minor issues leading up to this bout, it was a ‘do or die’ moment for me. So, all those up-coming fights. Bring them on!”
Chamberlain’s impressive, enthusiastic and vocal following in South London which would make a North/South of the river clash with Viddal Riley from Hackney particular attractive to promoters. Nevertheless Riley’s comparative inexperience would seem to make such matching premature.
Although Isaac would prefer a return match with Billam-Smith, the latter was more circumspect, telling Sky Sports: “Isaac has got a lot of attributes, but I think we’ll need to see a better opponent for him. He’s probably a few fights off that world level. He’s probably ranked in the top 15 of a couple of the governing bodies but he needs more than that.”