Jermall Charlo defends belt for second time; Eubank Jr. awarded middleweight title
By Robert Aaron Contreras.
On Saturday, defending middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KO) orchestrated a much-needed knockout. Doing so, he defended his WBC title for the second time as he knocked down Dennis Hogan (28-3-1, 7 KO) two times, wrapping up the show in the seventh round, headlining Showtime’s latest billing from Brooklyn, New York.
Charlo didn’t mind giving away the first couple rounds to Hogan, an undersized challenger to be sure but one with spunk. From the beginning the undefeated beltholder planned on relying on his power-punching. His heavy hands made their first appearance in the fourth round, stunning Hogan with a slashing left uppercut that sent the Australian transplant tumbling over. Hogan again went headlong overboard in the seventh period from a winging hook.
“I was trying to take him out with every punch,” Charlo told Jim Gray in the ring. “We’ve been working on it. My power prevailed tonight.”
The finish marked the first KO loss of Hogan’s career. Born with a real beard, he took everything junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia had for him in his previous outing. That Hogan’s majority-decision loss was branded one of the biggest robberies of the year provided him with an immediate return to the title stage.
Early on, Hogan made the most of the opportunity. His cavorting and potshotting that previously befuddled Munguia also secured a lead over Charlo through the opening six minutes. But Hogan’s redemption arc turned dire when Charlo got his timing down. Charlo established the center of the ring in the third round and Hogan was left leading with his head into the champion in hopes of connecting with flailing overhand rights. Closing that distance only did Charlo favors as the Texas-born puncher countered with short, lead left hooks and uppercuts. Eventually landing a left hand to the challenger’s chin just seconds into the fourth round: Hogan not only gfell onto the seat of his pants but continued spilling over backwards.
Pulling himself together for the fifth round, Hogan tossed out some chippy body jabs but was continually in danger of sweeping left hooks from Charlo. The champ was zeroing in on more money shots. Headhunting at times, he was at his best extending out a left jab and driving right crosses into his opponent’s face.
Charlo continued firing sniper rounds in the sixth stanza. His combinations became less creative but he still came out on top in every exchange. Walking Hogan down, the brawler predictably rushed directly into charging hooks and slinging uppercuts.
Then 15 seconds into Round 7, dynamite. A jab feint froze up Hogan for a left hook that mashed into his face. He got up on shaky legs but a quick look from referee Charlie Fitch confirmed no more punishment was necessary.
Retaining his title in convincing fashion was Charlo’s only choice following a rough start to 2019. In June he was extended the distance by the unheralded Brandon Adams—unable to mount significant offense against an unranked journeyman. Now racking up another knockout—albeit against a natural super welterweight—Charlo needs to aim high. Much higher.
“The middleweight division is wide open,” Charlo claimed. “I’m here to fight whoever.”
So we’ll see.
Interim titles decided in co-main events
Early in the second round, a grimace stretched across the face of Matt Korobov (28-3-1, 14 KO); he shuffled away from Chris Eubank Jr. (29-2, 22 KO) and threw his right hand in the air as if to call timeout. A visit from the physician revealed a shoulder injury, ending the fight soon after. It was an abrupt ending. But nonetheless an official TKO for Eubank, who became the interim WBA middleweight champion.
Korobov, 36, took the first round, It was a decisive three minutes for the older man, comfortable playing the underdog role to a man with a legendary bloodline. The Russian southpaw plugged away at Eubank with straight left hands. That Korobov, known for jumping on his opposition early, would sprint out to an early lead wasn’t surprising. But a bombshell awaited the boxing world in the next stanza.
Eubank, 30, came out for Round 2 levelheaded. Conditioned to the fight the distance, he didn’t get to throw a meaningful punch. And wouldn’t need to. Korobov continued bayoneting left hands before, just 34 seconds into the inning, his shoulder came undone.
Not even four minutes of action, even Eubank couldn’t find an honest takeaway from such a short contest.
“I was literally about to get my swag on,” Eubank said. “There’s nothing to take from the fight—I threw like two or three punches. It is what it is… This isn’t the dream I had making my debut here. I wanted to have a knockout and make a statement.”
Eubank has now won three in a row since a wide loss to George Groves in the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Before that, Marlon Tapales (33-3, 16 KO) was on the receiving end of a careening left hand from Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17 KO) in the penultimate round that left the former champion rattled, unable to keep a straight face for the referee, who called the fight at 1:09 of Round 11.
Iwasa, two fights removed from previously holding the IBF crown, swatted at his short opponent throughout their contest for the interim 122-pound title. He was technically awarded another knockdown in the third round when Tapales dropped to a knee from an obvious headbutt. That’s not to say Tapales didn’t give it back to the Japanese southpaw here and there, flinging around a ferocious overhand left of his own. But one with little variety or systematic means.
Daniel Roman, the sitting super bantamweight champion, is set to return from injury in the first half of next year. Iwasa’s win puts him directly in line to meet Roman and shed his interim status.