The light middleweight division finds itself with one less titleholder as defending IBF champion Jermall Charlo announced his decision to vacate the strap on Thursday.
In a prepared press release, Charlo states there are no other fights that interest him at his current weight class and he’s seeking new challenges at 160. Charlo’s twin brother Jermell, who he’s pledged to never fight, will remain at 154.
“If there were a big fight at 154 pounds left for me, I’d stick around and wait for it. But there isn’t anything there that can be made quickly. And I wouldn’t fight my brother or my gym mate and close friend, Erislandy Lara.”
Charlo’s trainer, Ronnie Shields agrees.
“It’s a move that has to be made,” said Shields. “He was definitely having trouble making that weight. No sense in holding himself down in making that weight. Going up to 160 pounds is a must. I think he does well there. He’s big enough to handle the weight. It’s not like we have to do anything special to compete at 160 pounds. That’s basically what he is – a middleweight.”
With current champions Gennady Golovkin (IBF, WBA, WBC) and Billy Jo Saunders (WBO) perched firmly atop the middleweight division, it will take some time before Charlo can make a run for at a title. Ready to work, Charlo says in the same statement that he’s been back in the gym and doesn’t anticipate any trouble making the leap.
“I’ve been training for a couple weeks now. It’s like a mini-camp. I’ve been shaking out,” Charlo said. “We’re looking at May to be completely ready. I’m a big athlete already. I’m just looking forward to taking my superstar status and competing with the big boys up there.”
With the title now vacant, challengers Tony Harrison and Jarrett Hurd will compete for the strap on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington on Saturday, February 25 in Alabama.