In a history-making performance, Jermell Charlo again showed he’s the master of the rematch. Unified WBC, WBA and IBF World Champion Jermell Charlo picked up the WBO title with a dramatic 10th-round KO of Brian Castaño in a rematch of their 2021 masterpiece to become the first ever undisputed male 154-pound champion in the four-belt era on Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. The bout, which was another Fight of the Year-type encounter, headlined a Premier Boxing Champions event before an announced crowd of 7,406.
The end came when Charlo (35-1-1, 18 KOs) dropped Castaño with a short, left hook as he was fighting off the ropes with around a minute left in the 10th. Castaño (17-1-2, 12 KOs) rose on unsteady legs and was allowed to continue and Charlo jumped on him, landing a vicious left to the head and body that caused Castaño to collapse and referee Jerry Cantu to wave off the bout at 2:33 of the 10th.
Saturday’s ending was reminiscent of the way Charlo closed his fight with Tony Harrison in their 2019 rematch when he KO’d Harrison in the 11th round after Harrison dethroned him in 2018.
Charlo, 31, is trained by Derrick James, who helped orchestrate Errol Spence Jr.’s 10th-round stoppage of Yordenis Ugas to pick up a third welterweight title on April 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Charlo and Castaño went toe-to-toe for 12 grueling rounds the first time they fought on July 17, 2021 on SHOWTIME, with the back-and-forth tilt ending in a split-decision draw. Charlo didn’t leave it in the judges’ hands on Saturday.
“This is legacy,” Charlo said in the ring afterward. “This is something that is legendary. I’m a legend. I knew Castaño was going to give it his all. I knew I had trained very, very hard but you all can see that I came in at 152 pounds because I was really in shape, and I wanted to make sure that this was my fight.”
The rematch was previously announced to take place on March 19 but was rescheduled after Castaño suffered an arm injury in training. The delay angered Charlo, who accused Castaño of gamesmanship in the run-up.
But the two shook hands and praised the other’s tenacity on Saturday after sharing the ring for a combined 22 rounds.
“We showed that we are warriors,” Castaño said. “We both were fighting back-and-forth. He’s a champion. He hit me. He got me. But I’m okay.”
Charlo produced a calm, clinically efficient and ultimately punishing performance. Expecting Castaño to fight aggressively and apply pressure, Charlo boxed effectively off his back foot, utilizing a hard jab and a counter-left that repeatedly found its target, none more violently than the final moments of the match.
Just like the first match, Castaño again landed a number of overhand rights and was successful in spots with his constant pressure. The fight was again fought at a torrid pace with both fighters hurting the other. But just like in the first fight, when Charlo gathered strength as the fight went on and won the final three rounds on all the judges’ scorecards, Charlo again wrested control of the bout in the late stages on Saturday.
“I listened to my corner this time,” he said. “I got in my bag around the seventh round. I started sitting down a little bit more instead of boxing so much and moving around. I saw that he was wearing down a little bit and I was breaking him down. I just saw my punches being more effective. I get stronger in the later rounds if they didn’t know.”
The event was promoted by TGB Promotions and Lions Only Promotions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader will re-air on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME and Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.
In what was supposed to be the toughest test of his career, Jaron “Boots” Ennis again made a mockery of pre-fight expectations, stopping the previously undefeated Custio Clayton via a second-round stoppage in an IBF welterweight title eliminator in the telecast co-feature in another scintillating performance from the Philly fighter.
After pushing Clayton back with jabs, Ennis, 24, landed a sweeping right hand to the top of Clayton’s head behind his ear that caused the Canadian to crumple to the canvas. Clayton, a former Olympian known for his durability, tried to get up but was still dizzy from the punch and fell back down again. He finally managed to get to his feet and beat the count, but stumbled into the ropes, causing referee Ray Corona to mercifully wave the fight off at 2:49 of the second round.
Following the match, Ennis called out unified champion Errol Spence Jr., who was ringside. Ennis improved to 29-0 with 27 knockouts while Clayton suffered his first defeat, dropping to 19-1-1 with 12 knockouts.
“Anybody can get it right now,” Ennis said. “But I’m the IBF No. 1 contender and I think ‘Mr. Big Fish’ is here himself, so it’s time to go fishing,” he said referencing Spence’s nickname.
Spence responded, smiling as he commented on another dominant and electric performance from Ennis and another unsuccessful showing from an Ennis opponent.
“He’s doing what he’s supposed to do,” Spence told Jim Gray of SHOWTIME. “He’s supposed to call me and everybody out and say I want to fight them. If he wasn’t hungry like that, like the guy he just fought. I don’t feel like he was hungry. I don’t feel like he wanted to fight.
“Ennis can fight,” Spence went on. “I’m very high on him. He’s got the right attitude. He’s got the right team behind him with him and his dad. He’s going to go a long way. But I heard him say he wants to reel me in. You might catch something you don’t want so don’t try too hard trying to reel me in.”
Ennis, who previously stopped veteran contender Thomas Dulorme in the first round back in October, took control from the opening bell, unleashing a steady diet of jabs to Clayton’s face and body. With Clayton moving backward for the entire round, unable to respond, frozen by Ennis’ speed, the 24-year-old began to open up with rights and lefts while switching from righty to lefty as Clayton covered up.
“He had a high guard, so I was trying to come around with the right hook,” Ennis said. “He leaned down and I just threw an overhand. I thought he was going to get up. He’s a durable, tough guy. Nobody has ever stopped him. I thought he was going to get up, but I saw he fell again, so I was like, ‘this is over.’”
Ennis dedicated the fight to Jackson Ramirez, a 7-year-old who lives just outside of Pittsburgh and has a genetic disease called IPEX syndrome, which requires a bone marrow transplant for his only chance of survival.
Because of his mixed ethnicity – white and Mexican – finding a match for a marrow transplant for Ramirez is a challenge. After reading about the boy, Ennis reached out to his family and is now in close contact with Ramirez, speaking to him and making it one of his goals to raise awareness about the boy’s situation to find a match and to increase donor diversity.
In an all-action fight from the opening bell in which over a thousand punches were thrown, Kevin González made a successful U.S. debut, winning a unanimous decision against tough Emanuel Rivera over 10 rounds at super bantamweight in the SHOWTIME opener.
The 24-year-old González displayed boxing skills and power to remain undefeated in an entertaining skirmish. Mexico’s González won by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 to move his record to 25-0-1 (13 KOs) while Puerto Rico’s Rivera, 32, dropped to 19-3 (12 KOs) in a contest of southpaws.
“Rivera was a quality opponent,” González said. “He and I had a classic Mexican versus Puerto Rican war and I hope that the fans enjoyed it. Bring on all the champions. I’m going to fight as soon as my promoter tells me to, in order to become the world champion I want to be.”
Despite landing the harder shots and crisper combinations, González still had to overcome an opponent who bloodied his nose in the second, cut his lip in the third and bloodied his eye in the seventh from a series of jabs and winging shots after he tried to wage the bout on the inside.
González adjusted his attack and had success boxing Rivera and moving around the ring in the fourth, peppering him with rights and lefts. But Rivera, who took a four-year break from the sport in 2017 after losing to Nate Green, answered with a pair of short rights in the fourth to battle back.
The fight heated up in the sixth as both began to wing hard shots. Rivera landed a roundhouse right flush midway through the round; González responded by stunning him with a hard right hand in the final minute that made Rivera stumble backwards.
González ripped a multi-punch combination midway through the tenth that went unanswered, but Rivera dug a right to the body in the final minute that slowed González down and he followed it up with some volleys of his own. However, it was González who emerged victorious after a fun scuffle.
Veteran sportscaster Brian Custer hosted the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast while versatile combat sports voice Mauro Ranallo handled blow-by-blow action alongside Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and three-division world champion Abner Mares. Three more Hall of Famers were part of the most decorated telecast team in all of boxing: Emmy-Award winning event announcer Jim Gray as ringside reporter, boxing historian Steve Farhood as unofficial scorer. and world-renowned Jimmy Lennon Jr., as the ring announcer. Former junior middleweight world champion Raúl “El Diamante” Marquez and sportscaster Alejandro Luna served as expert analysts in Spanish on Secondary Audio Programming (SAP).
The executive producer was four-time Emmy® award winner David Dinkins, Jr. The director was Bob Dunphy, son of legendary Hall of Famer Don Dunphy.