Jermall Charlo goes for interim middleweight title on April 21

Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/Trapp Photos/Showtime


On April 21, live from Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York, Jermall Charlo, 26-0 (20), will take a shot at the vacant WBC interim middleweight title.


Charlo, who will face rugged Hugo “The Boss” Centeno Jr., 26-1 (14), is one-half of Houston, Texas’ world championship twins, as brother Jermell is the current WBC world junior middleweight champion.


In September of 2015, Charlo was impressive in stopping Cornelius Bundrage to capture the IBF junior middleweight title. After successfully defending the title three times over the next two years, Charlo decided it was time to move north to the 160-pound division.


Charlo dipped his toe in the middleweight waters last summer with a successful debut, stopping veteran Jorge Sebastian Heiland in four rounds. Now he has his sights set on a world title victory and the potentially lucrative match-ups that can follow it.


Hugo Centeno was a red-hot contender at 24-0, until losing via 10-round stoppage to Maciej Sulecki in June of 2016. To be fair, however, Sulecki himself is a talented contender, so it wasn’t a total upset. That said, Sulecki really does his best work at 154 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how Centeno handles the Charlo heat at 160.


Centeno has rebounded since the Sulecki loss with two wins, including a highlight reel knockout of Immanuwel Aleem last summer and is looking forward to his opportunity with Charlo. In a recent interview, Centeno said he was “very confident for this fight. (Charlo)’s a man just like me. I’m getting ready harder than ever before and I’ll do the talking with my fists!” also had a chance to catch up with former world title challenger and Charlo trainer Ronnie Shields to get his take on his fighter’s upcoming title tilt.


“Centeno is a good fighter,” said Shields. “He’s been fighting at 160 pounds for a while, so he will be comfortable at the weight and we just have to box smarter and not make mistakes. I think he’ll box from the outside. We just have to work on not making mistakes and focusing on the things that we have been working on to get the win.”


The 160-pound division sports names like unified champion Gennady Golovkin and Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez but, when Shields was asked what he sees for possible big match-ups for Charlo, he was adamant about focusing on the task at hand before looking ahead.


“We were supposed to get a shot at the ‘GGG’ and Canelo winner, from their first fight, as Jermall was in the number one spot. But after their fight was a draw then, they obviously wanted a rematch. But if we can get the win over Centeno and get the interim title, then we should get the winner of GGG and Canelo, whenever they fight,” Shields said. “If we don’t, then we are being told that we will be the number one guy in the division. But the first order of business is getting the win over Centeno; that is all we are concentrating on right now.”


(Writer’s note: Since this interview, Saul Alvarez tested positive for a banned substance, has received a temporary suspension – pending a hearing conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, on April 18 – and has also recently undergone knee surgery. The future of the Golovkin-Canelo rematch is uncertain.)




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