Sport

Jermell Charlo KO’s Brian Castano for the undisputed title

CARSON, Calif. – It took incredible patience for Jermell Charlo to become the first undisputed super welterweight champion of the world.

After a split draw in his first fight against Brian Castaño last year, followed by a three-month postponement of the rematch due to injury for Castaño, Charlo had to wait again on Saturday night because Castaño was late to the arena.

When the showdown finally began, Charlo Castaños survived early attacks and waited for the moment to pounce.

The moment came on lap 10 and Charlo grabbed it with vigor.

Charlo became the first man to hold every 154-pound title in the four-belt era when he stopped his Argentinian opponent with two knockdowns in the 10th. He completed his remarkable quest by becoming only the seventh fighter to reign as the undisputed champion of a weight class since the start of the four-belt era in 1988.

Brian Castano KO'd by Jermell Charlo in the 10th round.
Brian Castano KO’d by Jermell Charlo in the 10th round.
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“It’s a legacy,” Charlo said. “It’s something legendary. I am Legend. That’s a beautiful thing.”

After an entertaining fight with lots of head-to-head action, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) dropped Castaño twice in quick succession in 10th place. Charlo ceremoniously jumped the ropes while the referee was still counting out his opponent, celebrating the addition of Castaño’s WBO super welterweight title to his WBC, WBA and IBF belts.

Charlo survived several impressive early rounds from Castaño (17-1-2) in the rematch of the fighters’ split draw 10 months ago in Texas.

“I got in my bag in the seventh round,” said Charlo, a Houston native and twin brother of middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. “I’ve started to sit a little more instead of boxing and moving as much. I saw that he was a little exhausted and I broke him down. I’ve only seen that my punches are more effective. I’ll get stronger in the later rounds if they didn’t know.”

Charlo executed a tactical game plan with counterattacks impressively under a nearly full moon at Dignity Health Sports Park, the famous outdoor stadium south of downtown Los Angeles.

Castaño’s aggression and Charlo’s sharp replies led to major exchanges in almost every round, highlighted by a sensational fifth round of relentless action. But Castaño’s early pace slowed in the middle laps, and Charlo ended it in dramatic fashion at 2:33 of lap 10.

After Charlo Castaño caught with a right uppercut and a left hook for the first knockdown, seconds later Charlo dropped Castaño again with two left hands to his head and one left to his body, leaving Castaño on the canvas.

Jermell Charlo celebrates with his belts.
Jermell Charlo celebrates with his belts.
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“We have shown that we are warriors,” Castaño said through a translator. “We both fought back and forth. It was power back and forth, and then his right hand came over and ended the fight. He’s a champ. He hit me. He has me. But I’m okay.”

After undefeated Philadelphia welterweight Jaron Ennis stopped Custio Clayton with a vicious right hand in the second round of the show’s penultimate fight, the main event was delayed slightly because Castaño showed up late at the arena, according to the fight organizers.

Traffic and parking around the sports complex, which was hosting a game for Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy at the same time as the fight card at the tennis arena that shares property with the football stadium, was terrible, but it wasn’t clear Whether this was the case was why Castaño was late.

Both fighters were still eager for an exchange, with Castaño pushing forward again and Charlo deftly countering. Charlo was sharp off the ropes, but Castaño defeated him in a back and forth in a thrilling fourth round.

Jermell Charlo greets the crowd after defeating Brian Castano.
Jermell Charlo greets the crowd after defeating Brian Castano.
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The fifth round was even better, with devastating shots thrown by both fighters. Charlo then buckled Castaño’s knees with a huge left hand in the seventh, but Charlo oddly didn’t move to take aim.

Turns out Charlo had a better plan after all.

Charlo’s victory marks a milestone in the history of the top middleweight-welterweight contender.

The 154-pound division was formed in 1962, and talent from Thomas Hearns and Terry Norris to Felix Trinidad and Winky Wright have excelled at that weight. But no boxer had held every major super welterweight title since the WBO established and ushered in the four-belt championship era in 1988.

Charlo won his first version of a 154-pound title in 2013 and clinched the WBC belt in May 2016. He lost it to Tony Harrison in December 2018 but regained it with a rematch knockout win and quickly added the WBA and IBF belts by stopping Jeison Rosario in September 2020.

Castaño has had an impressive fighter career in Buenos Aires, although he has been training in Los Angeles since January. He held versions of the WBA 154-pound title for three years before claiming the WBO title last year.

Castaño came tantalizingly close to an impressive upset with a similarly aggressive strategy when he first met Charlo last July. But the judges in Charlo’s native Texas couldn’t make up their minds, with one scoring for each fighter and the third seeing a tie.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/15/jermell-charlo-kos-brian-castano-for-undisputed-title/ Jermell Charlo KO’s Brian Castano for the undisputed title

JOE HERNANDEZ

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