Jermell Charlo stops Brian Castano to become undisputed junior middleweight champion

Jermell Charlo stops Brian Castano to become undisputed junior middleweight champion

CARSON, Calif. — Twelve exciting rounds couldn’t separate Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano when they met in July, and 10 months later, nine rounds didn’t change much.

Wild, brutal slugfest that roused the spirited crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park. Numerous hard-to-achieve rounds. A back and forth from bell to bell.

Finally, a series of shots – a right hand to the body followed by a left hook to the head – changed the fight forever. Castano collapsed in round 10 of an instant classic on Saturday, a PBC on Showtime rematch that topped the first fight that ended in a tie.

Somehow, somehow, Castano managed to get to his feet before the count of 10, but his bravery was only a harbinger of a quick end. The Argentine was in no shape to continue and Charlo felt the moment.

He sprinted over to Castano and unleashed a series of left and right that brought him to the ground one last time, then headed to the turnbuckle to celebrate as the referee counted to 10 with seven seconds left. For the second time, Charlo scored a knockout in a title rematch (against Tony Harrison in 2019) and is now the undisputed 154lb champion after adding Castano’s titles to the three he already owned.

“I showed the fans, I showed these haters, that I can stand there and act,” said Charlo, who was up 87-84, 88-83, 89-82 in round 10. “One thing I changed is try not to be too much on the ropes… Place shots on really precise body parts and exhaust him.

Round 10 was the same frame Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) landed his fight-changing shot 10 months ago. Castano (17-1-2, 12 KOs) was in control of the first clash when Charlo badly injured him with a left counter hook, but he never went down. Castano appeared to win this fight but was up on only one scorecard, 114-113 (the other scores were 114-114 and 117-111 for Charlo).

This time Charlo was much hotter. He landed effective counterattacks off the ropes. His jab and movement allowed him to escape from trouble and eventually resulted in the punch that ended the rivalry and welcomed the ninth undisputed boxing champion of the four-belt era.

“He was smarter this time,” said Castano, 32. “I felt like I won the first fight but tonight he got me and that was it. … I feel like I still have a lot to give in boxing … . I’m happy with my performance despite the loss. I feel like there is a lot of room for correction and improvement in my boxing.

But it was Charlo who made the right corrections to clinch the biggest win of his career. Coach Derrick James said he instructed Charlo to target his shots to the shoulder to catch Castano with follow-up shots as the Argentine ducked. The strategy worked.

“We broke it,” James said.

The first six rounds involved non-stop hitting at a frenetic pace, and Charlo was able to beat Castano shot after shot. Castano applied constant pressure as always and was able to slip in a bunch of sharp left hooks that landed flush.

“His plan is to get some good shots at the end of the round,” said Charlo, whose twin brother Jermall is the defending middleweight champion. “I said to myself, ‘I have to stay stronger.’ I tried to tune out everyone else.”

Charlo, a native of Houston, ate the shots and really took over in round 7 after knocking Castano over with his left hand. He didn’t follow, but three laps later the opportunity presented itself again. And he capitalized it.

Now Charlo, 31, can no longer be denied as the ruler of the junior middleweight division after yet another definitive win in a rematch.

“I have stamina, I’ve ridden all 12 and unfortunately my strength is getting stronger with every lap,” said Charlo. “I am not ready yet. I’m still learning and growing. I can learn from this fight. … I’m hard to beat.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.