Jermall Charlo Still Seeking Recognition Amidst Upcoming Title Defense

Undefeated WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo will defend the belt against contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko this weekend.

Updated: Sept. 25, 2020 • 7:11 AM ET

Uncasville, Conn will host this weekend's championship card featuring the Charlo brothers.

Undefeated WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo will defend the belt against Sergiy Derevyanchenko this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) is coming off a seventh-round TKO of Dennis Hogan in December, his third consecutive successful title defense. He won the vacant belt with a second-round knockout of Hugo Centeno Jr. in 2018 and followed that performance with defenses against Matvey Korobov and Brandon Adams (both by unanimous decision). Finishing Hogan was a big statement for Charlo, silencing his critics for the time being.

The 30-year-old Charlo is also the former IBF junior middleweight champion with notable wins over Cornelius Bundrage, Austin Trout and Julian Williams. Despite being a champion, Charlo is still trying to prove he belongs with the middleweight elite.

"Fighters like Canelo [Alvarez], [Daniel] Jacobs, [Gennadiy] Golovkin; all those fighters on the big stage, I'll be there soon," Charlo recently said via CBS Sports. "Hopefully, a victory over Derevyanchenko will open up the eyes of the division, and they'll get a chance to see who the real deal is. I'm coming.”

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With a win on Saturday, will Charlo be offered a high profile fight with any of the names mentioned above? He’ll have to secure a win against Derevyanchenko first.

"Derevyanchenko is a come-forward fighter,” Charlo said. “He's going to bring a lot of power and speed with good technical skills. He calls himself 'The Technician,’ but we'll see how technical he is once I start putting my jab in his face. I'm going to use all my natural skills in this fight."

Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Gennady Golovkin last October for the vacant IBF and IBO middleweight titles. This was the second time he challenged for a major title with the other being a close split-decision loss to Daniel Jacobs in 2018 for the then vacant IBF title. The 34-year-old has only lost to Golovkin and Jacobs with 10 of his 13 wins coming by knockout or TKO.

Derevyanchenko managed to get many boxing pundits talking after his fight with Golovkin, where he landed 230 punches, the most anyone had landed on the champion to that date. What the Ukrainian fighter wants, however, is to become a world champion.

"When I was young and would dream about United States, I would see Muhammad Ali, [Mike] Tyson, [Evander] Holyfield,” Derevyanchenko recently said. “I wanted [to be] like that. Why so important to win a world title? It's my dream.

“It's a big deal. I have been boxing all of my life and I would dream about this since 10 years old. Of course, when I get this belt, I will be so happy."

This could be the last time Derevyanchenko challenges for a title. Like Charlo, he’s trying to prove he belongs among the elite.

"I am dreaming for when they say, 'and the new …'" Derevyanchenko said. "I have a feeling in my body and on my hands [just thinking about it]. It's like a small insect under your skin. I really want to listen to, 'the new champion of the world, The Technician.'

"I want to be a real champion and not a paper champion. After this fight, I hope I can prove that. I think that is more important for all of the boxers to show that to the fans and not the judges. That is what is most important."

Co-main event

The co-main event will feature the other half of the Charlo Brothers, as Jermell will defend the WBC junior middleweight title against WBA super and IBF junior middleweight champion Jeison Rosario in a unification bout.

Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) is coming off an 11th-round knockout of Tony Harrison last December, winning back the WBC belt from Harrison, who handed Charlo his only loss in 2018. Before losing his first fight, Charlo defended the belt three times with wins over Charles Hatley, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout.

The younger of the Charlo twins has used a sibling rivalry and favorable resume to garner attention, but believes the fight with Rosario will be his chance to start his own legacy.

"I just want to be remembered as one of the toughest champions with his own attitude,” Charlo said. “It's me. I'm one of a kind even though I am a twin.

“The way I felt like taking over the sport is becoming the undisputed champion. It's about me building my legacy right now. I made history for the Charlo twins, I made history for us."

Charlo believes losing to Harrison has made him a better fighter.

"After I lost in 2018, I told everyone that it just gave me jet fuel, and that when I come back, I'm coming back full throttle," Charlo said. "That's what I'm about. I have nothing to lose. I'm not letting him take anything from me.

"I believe that I won that fight. I went through a bad Christmas that year. I was Mr. Scrooge, so Mr. Scrooge had to change his life. Just loving myself a lot more and me being me, that's what pushed me. I'm even more dangerous than I was before. I'm an old school fighter right here. I've been dedicated to this game, and I'm not going anywhere. Stay out of my way, because I'm the man trucking things."

Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) is coming off a fifth-round TKO of Julian Williams in January, during which he won the WBA super, IBF and IBO titles. He was a major underdog against Williams and will enter as an underdog again on Saturday. The 25-year-old Rosario, however, knows the challenges he’ll face against Charlo.

“Training with Coach (Luis) Perez has led to a lot of improvements and allowed me to reach my full potential,” Rosario recently said via Yahoo Sports. “My camps for the Williams fight and the Charlo fight are the first real training camps of my career. After I fought Jorge Cota, I knew that I needed to make changes and be more dedicated.

“There are no distractions or excuses for me now. A better diet, better conditioning and more focused training has all played a part in the changes. For this fight, I’m going to be even stronger than I was against Williams. My body wasn’t really used to the training camp going into that fight. My body is responding even better after my second 16-week training camp.”

While he only has one loss, Rosario has had noticeable struggles in his career against fighters he was heavily favored against. Even though he’ll enter as a champion, a win over Charlo would undoubtedly be shocking.

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