UNCASVILLE, Connecticut -- Already considered the most talented fighter in a deep 154-pound division, Jermell Charlo is now the most decorated champion after unifying a trio of world titles to close out Saturday's doubleheader pay-per-view card.
Charlo (33-1, 18 KOs), who entered with the WBC title, turned a night of low output into violent efficiency as he scored a trio of knockdowns en route to an 8th-round knockout of WBA and IBF champion Jeison Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs). Despite being outlanded 85 to 64 overall in total punches, according to CompuBox, Charlo made his power punches count on a night when his 30-year-old twin brother, Jermall Charlo, defended his WBC middleweight title with a unanimous decision win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in the first of two main events on this historic card.
A native of Houston, Charlo opened up a close fight in Round 8 with a lead power jab to the stomach which floored Rosario, 25, and sent him into convulsions while gulping for air. He was unable to beat the count from referee Harvey Dock.
"I definitely proved that I'm more than just a puncher but I also proved that I'm a puncher," Charlo said. "I also sticked to my game plans. I grade myself an A because I did everything my trainer said to do during training camp."
Rosario, a native of the Dominican Republic who scored an upset stoppage of Julian Williams in January to collect a pair of junior middleweight titles, played the role of the aggressor throughout. While he had his moments, largely because Charlo was so efficient and patient to wait for the right time to explode, his punch resistance was unable to stand tall.
Charlo landed a left hand to the top of Rosario's head in Round 1 and as he fell back into the ropes, Rosario's back foot slipped off the apron causing him to fall for a knockdown. In Round 6, Charlo landed a huge left hook and a short right hand which caused Rosario to do a dance as if he was on ice skates before falling.
"I knew that he was going to keep coming after the first knockdown," Charlo said. "He kept pressing for four or five rounds until I floored him again. I'm growing and learning that the knockout just comes. I know that I have explosive power in both hands. I utilized my jab more than any other punch in this fight and that's what got me these straps.
"Rosario hits hard, but if you have to know how to wear a fighter down. That's how you take the power out of him."
Rosario was taken to the hospital for precautions after the loss.
"That body shot that landed must have hit at an accurate point, I don't know. It looked like he was having a seizure at the end of the count so I wish him well," Charlo said. "I respect anyone who steps in the ring against me and has to feed their family but just leave me alone at 154 pounds. I'm the man.
"It's Lions Only forever. We've been doing this for a long time. Dreams do come true. This is a part of my dream and a part of my destiny. I'm satisfied and I'm happy. I know right now that I'm going to talk with the sanctioning bodies and see what's next. I'm holding the crown. I'm the king. We'll see what's next."
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