I am fighting demons—Chilemba

South Africa-based Malawian boxer Isaac ‘Golden Boy’ Chilemba says he is fighting demons that have affected his career for the five years.

The 31-year-old former International Boxing Organisation (IBO) champion made the confession yesterday when The Nation sought his reaction to an article in South Africa’s Sunday Times, which asserted that he is battling depression and substance abuse.

Chilemba: I am getting help

Chilemba also claims to have attempted suicide thrice—first time when he was eight and the last about two years ago.

“This really has affected my boxing for the last five years, but I have been fighting against it. Through weekly therapy and support groups, I have been receiving the support that has given me the strength to keep me going,” he said in an interview through WhatsApp yesterday.

“I decided to share my demons and free myself from them. Right now, I am getting help and still chasing my dream as a boxer. On the recovery path, I will not stop dealing with the addictions even if I have not done so for a while.”

The South African publication quoted the 10th ranked boxer in the World Boxing Council (WBC) light-heavyweight division as having spoken about his reliance on alcohol, cigarettes and pornography as well as heartbreaking childhood growing in Malawi.

“The only emotion I could recognise was anger. The first thing I do when there was a problem was to just walk away…I’d go buy a six pack of beer and a packet of cigarettes and go to my place and just sit, drink and smoke until the morning,” he was quoted as having said.

The father of one said he is coming to terms with his past and is writing a book about his experiences, which he hopes will be liberating.

“He has quit booze and porn, but still struggles with smoking. At least he buys singles rather than packets,” the publication wrote.

Chilemba, whose last attempt for a world title was in August last year when he lost on unanimous decision to Dimtry Bivol in a 12 –round light heavyweight World Boxing Association (WBA) bout, has a record of 25 wins, six losses and two draws.

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