Jermell Charlo has already taken steps to silence those who’ve questioned the validity of his untimely injury.
The undisputed junior middleweight champion still has work to do with at least one sanctioning body.
A Notice of Medical Certification was issued to Charlo by the WBO, who has called for a detailed report on the broken hand injury suffered during training camp that delayed his ordered title defense versus Australia’s Tim Tszyu. The two were due to meet in a January 28 Showtime main event at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas but it was announced on Christmas Eve that the bout was postponed and without a new fight date in tow.
“Mr. Charlo is hereby ordered to submit within the next 5 days upon issuance of this notice a detailed medical explanation of his injury, findings, recovery prognosis, and his orthopedic specialist’s opinion as to when will he be physically and medically cleared to compete and return to active competition,” WBO Championship Committee chairman Luis Batista-Salas stated to event promoter TGB Promotions’ Tom Brown via official letter, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com.
Chario will have until January 1 to provide such proof, though a modest extension to the next business day is likely given the date falls on a weekend (Sunday) and holiday (New Year’s Day).
Ironically, the letter was submitted less than 24 hours after Houston’s Charlo took to social media to in fact provide proof of injury. The reigning lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO 154-pound king posted a picture showing a short arm cast wrapped around his left hand, wrist and forearm, accompanied by a medical report from Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. The letter was dated December 23, three days after injuring his hand during a mid-week sparring session.
“Jermell Charlo was seen in my clinic on 12/23/2022,” noted Dr. Vincent Chau Phan. “He has sustained a left scaphoid fracture and 5th metacarpal base fracture. He will be placed in a short arm cast at this time. It is my recommendation that Jermell should refrain from upper extremity training that involves impact for 2 months.”
Charlo (35-1-1, 19KOs) was due to make the first defense of his undisputed championship and third defense at least one belt in his second title reign since regaining the WBC title three years ago. He inherited Australia’s Tszyy (21-0, 15KOs) as a mandatory challenger after he scored a tenth-round knockout of Argentina’s Brian Castano (17-1-2, 12KOs) in their May 14 rematch to fully unify the junior middleweight division.
Tszyu was ringside for the event, having just completed clean-out surgery to both sets of knuckles. The procedure took place roughly a month after his U.S. debut, where he overcame an opening round knockdown to outpoint 2012 U.S. Olympian and former title challenger Terrel Gausha on March 26 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
At the time of his win over Castano, Charlo was believed to next honor his long-overdue IBF mandatory versus Bakhram Murtazaliev. The WBO intervened in June, ordering its outstanding title fight since an arrangement was in place preceding the undisputed championship. Charlo and Tszyu ultimately agreed to terms last summer, though with their title fight scheduled six months out to January 28.
The recent development endured by Charlo marked the first time in his near 15-year career that he has been forced to postpone a bout due to injury.
The 32-year-old, two-tour junior middleweight champ was forced to wait six months to avenge his lone career defeat, after Tony Harrison—who outpointed Charlo in December 2018 to win the WBC title—suffered an injury which postponed their planned June 2019 rematch. Charlo-Harrison II took place in December 2019, where Charlo scored three knockdowns en route to an eleventh-round knockout at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
He then scored an eighth-round knockout of Jeison Rosario to add the WBA/IBF titles to his collection. Efforts to fully unify versus Castano saw the top two junior middleweights fight to a split decision draw in July 2021. A rematch was scheduled for March 19, only for Castano to suffer a slight biceps tear in forcing what became a two-month postponement.
Castano was required to show proof of injury at the time of the delay, with the WBO now following suit with its current 154-pound champion.
“Failure to comply with this order will result in Mr. Charlo waiving all rights hereunder and with the Committee proceeding per WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests,” stated Batista-Salas.
The order could provide grounds for Tszyu to request an interim title fight, as his team is eager to keep the second-generation boxer active while waiting for a rescheduled fight date with Charlo. Based on evidence already provided, Charlo should not be in danger of losing the WBO title outside the ring.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox