By Keith Idec
The WBC will allow Jermell Charlo to make another voluntary defense of its 154-pound title in his next fight.
At its annual convention in Kiev, Ukraine, the WBC voted Wednesday to afford Charlo the chance to make a second straight optional defense against an opponent to be determined. If Houston’s Charlo wins his next fight, he will be obligated to make a mandatory defense in his following fight against the winner of an elimination match between Erislandy Lara and Julian Williams.
The WBC also ordered the Lara-Williams bout at its convention Wednesday.
Lara lost his WBA and IBO super welterweight championships to Jarrett Hurd in his last fight. Hurd dropped the Cuban southpaw in the 12th round and won a split decision April 7 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) and Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) want to meet in what would be an intriguing 154-pound championship unification fight. The WBC could grant Charlo an exception for a unification match versus Hurd before he would be obligated to defend his title against the Lara-Williams winner.
Philadelphia’s Williams (25-1-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) already is the IBF’s No. 1 challenger for Hurd’s IBF junior middleweight title.
Jermell Charlo most recently defeated former WBA champ Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-round encounter June 9 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Before he beat Trout, Charlo made back-to-back mandatory defenses of his WBC title by knocking out Charles Hatley (27-2-1, 19 KOs) and Erickson Lubin (19-1, 14 KOs).
Williams, meanwhile, must get through the skillful Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) to get his second shot at a 154-pound championship.
Jermall Charlo, Jermell’s twin brother, knocked out Williams in the fifth round of their December 2016 fight for Charlo’s IBF junior middleweight title in at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. Charlo gave up that title following his victory over Williams to move up to middleweight.
Hurd won the then-vacant IBF junior middleweight crown when he stopped Detroit’s Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs) in the ninth round of a February 2017 bout in Birmingham, Alabama.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.