In a fight for all the marbles at 154 pounds, Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KO) defeated Brian Castaño (17-1-2, 12 KO) by tenth round knockout to become the Undisputed champion in boxing’s Super Welterweight division.
The win for Charlo sets up a potential fight against Aussie contender Tim Tszyu, in what could be one of the biggest and most important fights in the history of Australian sports.
Charlo and Castaño had previously met in July 2021 (117-111 Charlo, 114-113 Castano. 114-114 draw) to unify their belts, but after an action-packed 12 rounds the fight ended in a split draw.
Coming into this fight, nobody knew what to expect, as many experts believed improvements could be made by both camps.
Similar to the first meeting, the opening rounds saw a very cautious approach from both men, but Charlo did a great job of establishing his jab and staying off the ropes.
The action started to pick up in the fourth round, where Castaño started to move inside and let his hands go. In response, Charlo picked his spots in the pocket and successfully landed his lead left hook on many occasions.
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Castaño started to find momentum with his forward pressure in the fifth, whilst also repeatedly landing his overhand right. The later rounds saw Charlo starting to deal with this rapid fire approach, as he was able to start moving forward using his jab-cross combination.
Late into the tenth round, Charlo caught Castaño with a vicious left hook that sent the Argentine to the canvas. Castaño was able to answer the referee’s count, but the Houston native went for the kill, sending his opponent to the canvas for a second time before the fight was waved off at the 2:33 mark of the tenth round.
The victory for Charlo makes him the first Undisputed Super Welterweight champion since Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright (51-6-1, 25 KOs) in 2004 and the seventh Undisputed champion in boxing’s four-belt era.
In his interview with Jim Gray of Showtime, Charlo admitted that he had some nerves going into the fight.
“I could consider this being a little bit like nerve-racking, I felt this was my first fight when you get nervous and you get ants in your pants,” he said.
“I knew Castaño was going to give his all, and I knew I trained really hard, I came in at 152 (pounds) I was really in shape and I wanted to make sure this was my fight.”
When asked about the adjustments he made from the first fight, Charlo said that he took a lot more advice from his corner.
“I listened to my corner this time,” Charlo joked.
“I started sitting down a little more (after the seventh round), instead of boxing so much and moving around.
“I saw that he was wearing down a little bit and I was breaking him down, the obvious came aware and I stepped up.”
When speaking further on the victory, Charlo stated that this was a fight that defined his legacy as one of the greatest Super Welterweights of recent times.
“This was for legacy. This is something that is legendary, I’m a legend, thank God this is a beautiful thing,” he added.
“When you’re at the top like this, you get a bunch of mandatories. You get a bunch of number one guys, so you’ve just got to prepare and be ready for it.”
When asked about his next opponent however, Charlo did state that he “didn’t know”, but it seems that the most likely opponents for him will be either WBC interim champion Sebastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) or Australia’s Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs).
In case of Tszyu, a fight with Charlo would definitely make sense.
Tszyu has been the WBO’s mandatory challenger for almost two years and currently sits inside the top 3 in both the WBC and IBF rankings.
In his American debut, Tszyu won a lopsided decision over former Olympian Terrell Gausha (22-3-1, 11 KOs), despite being dropped by a well-timed right-hand counter in the first round.
Similar punches would be something he needs to watch out for when fighting on the front foot against a world-class counterpuncher like Charlo.
In all, a showdown between Tszyu and Charlo for all four belts would also be massive for Australian boxing.
Given George Kambosos’ (20-0, 10 KOs) recent success in the stacked Lightweight division, this would be the cherry on the top to showcase Aussies at the elite level.
In this scenario, an Undisputed championship win for “The Soul Taker” would be monumental, but also sentimental, given his dad did the same just over two decades ago.
With the introduction of Australian fighters to the mainstream international boxing scene, there has never been a better time to be a fan of the sport ‘Down Under.’
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