By Lem Satterfield
When 28-year-old identical twin siblings Jermell and Jermall Charlo defend their 154- and 160-pound WBC and WBC interim crowns against Tony Harrison and southpaw Willie Monroe on December 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, it will be the first time the Houston, Texas-born tandem will have fought on the same card, back-to-back, since their history-making night in May 2016.
That’s when Jermell (31-0, 15 KOs) came from behind for a title-winning eighth-round stoppage of John Jackson at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, a feat that preceded Jermall (27-0, 21 KOs) scoring a unanimous decision over left-handed former champion Austin Trout in his second of three IBF 154-pound title defenses.
In winning the vacated world title, Jermell joined his older by a minute brother, Jermall, as a junior middleweight champion two days after celebrating their 26th birthday.
“We’ve done it before, like when we [both shared being champions for the first time] on May 21, 2016,” said Jermell Charlo. “I fought first, and it doesn’t matter if I’m fighting first, third, last. I’m going to get in there and handle my business.”
Jermall has since vacated the 154-pound title after a two-knockdown, fifth-round KO of Julian Williams in December 2016, and registered a pair of knockouts at 160, most recently a title-winning second-round KO of Hugo Centeno Jr. in April.
"The Iron Man" will be after his fourth defense and third knockout during that time against repeat title challenger Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs) on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, and "The Hit Man", his initial defense and fourth straight stoppage victory against Monroe (23-3, 6 KOs), a two-time title challenger.
"[Jermall']s the main event, but on December 22, I'm going to steal the show," said Jermell, who became the co-main on December 22 after a coin flip.
"I hate that he won the coin toss because I should be the main event, but that's none of my business. I'm there to fight, so we're gonna have fun."
The emotionally connected siblings say they won't be distracted by their bond, but, in fact, motivated because of it.
“I’ve been watching [Jermell] all my life. There’s no pressure on me, there’s no pressure on my twin brother,” said Jermall,.
“I could have fought first, he could have fought after me. We’re going to get in there and we’re going to do whatever we have to do. I’m ready, and he’s ready.”
Introduced boxing at the age of 8 by their father, Kevin, a former amateur fighter, the brothers shared the same career arc until 2007, when Jermell turned pro while Jermall pursued a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
His Olympic dreams foiled by a toe injury that required surgery, Jermall debuted in September 2008, six days after Jermell improved to 4-0.
They fought on the same card the following month in Tucson, Arizona, but while Jermell remained active, improving to 16-0 by the close of 2011, Jermall’s record was just 8-0.
At the time, the siblings were working under the tutelage of Houston-based trainer Ronnie Shields.
In November 2012, after Jermell improved to 19-0 with a unanimous decision over Dashon Johnson, Jermall tracked down his brother’s advisor, Al Haymon, in the dressing room.
Haymon embraced Jermall, and, in December 2012, “The Hit Man’s” fourth-round stoppage of Edgar Perez in Houston represented his first of 11 consecutive KO victories through a unanimous decision over Michael Finney in March 2015.
Jermall’s next fight was a three-knockdown third-round stoppage that dethroned Cornelius Bundrage as IBF 154-pound champion on September 12, 2015—exactly seven years to the day he made his pro debut.
In advance of his sixth-round TKO of former champion Joachim Alcine in October 2015, Jermell switched trainers to Derrick James, whom he shares with left-handed IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence at R&R Boxing in Dallas.
"We've finally gotten this opportunity to headline, and a lot of fans have been waiting on that," said Jermall Charlo. "And now, we get to show the world and to put on a show in front of a packed house. You guys will continue to see us...Get ready for fireworks and explosives."