Houston’s Jermell Charlo defends his title with KO

Houstonian and junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo flexed his muscles in his first World Boxing Council (WBC) title defense recently at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Appearing on the undercard of the welterweight title card featuring Shawn Porter-Andre Berto, Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) delivered a punishing right hand to the chin of challenger Charles Hatley (26-2-1, 18 KOs) 32 seconds into round 6.

Hatley, out cold, fell face first under the ropes and bounced off of a ringside camera man. Referee Harvey Dock waved off the fight instantly without a count. The knockout was so impressive it immediately became the front runner for knockout of the year.

Charlo, 26, is a graduate of Alief Hastings High School. He is known for his skill as a boxer as opposed to a knockout artist, and described the series of punches that led to Hatley’s demise.

“I used that jab to set up the right hand,” he said. “I knew Charles Hatley goes down and he gets back up – he’s a warrior and I knew I had to get in there and be a lion.”

Charlo controlled the fight from beginning to end. He knocked Hatley into the ropes toward the end of round 2 with a monster right hand and floored him one round later on a sweeping overhand shot.

It was Charlo’s first fight since winning the title last May and he showed little ring rust as a result of the 11-month layoff. Charlo’s trainer Derrick James affirmed his fighter’s performance in the ring.

“I thought he gave a phenomenal performance. He did everything we worked on in camp,” James said. “He set him up with the jab and took him out with the right. That is what he needed to do.”

Jermell Charlo holds a portion of the junior middleweight title that was vacated by his twin brother Jermall, who moved up to the middleweight category. The next step would be a fight to unify the title.

“I’m the champ so I have to continue to fight my mandatory,” Charlo said. “They got a guy named Jarret Hurd that took my brother’s title. We could unify.”

Jermall Charlo, watching from ringside, was pleased with his brother’s success.

“I’m so proud of my brother,” he said. “He stayed focused this week and did the right things in the ring. He hit the gas when he needed to. He won every round. We are blessed.”