Tony Harrison scores shocking decision win over Jermell Charlo to claim junior middleweight title
Harrison won by unanimous decision to win his first world title
Jermell Charlo lost the coin flip with his twin brother Jermall to see who would headline their card on Saturday night in Brooklyn, and then went on to lose his undefeated record and WBC junior middleweight belt to Tony Harrison in a shocking decision. After a tactical fight that wasn't always the most exciting, the three judges gave Harrison a close, but unanimous decision.
There wasn't much action in the first few rounds, as the two combatants took things slow while they tried to figure out their opponent. The fight started to open up more as the rounds went on, but remained a pretty tactical chess match, with neither fighter wanting to make a mistake that would leave them vulnerable -- a sign that they each respected the other's ability.
By the middle rounds, Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) became the clear aggressor, while Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) settled into a counterpunching role. While the undefeated champion wasn't landing -- he often loaded up on his right hand in an effort to land a knockout blow -- he appeared to take control of the fight and was often landing the more telling shots.
Harrison did well to stick and move, landing jabs and some occasional sharp counterpunches. They were too few and far between to do any serious damage to Charlo, but apparently did enough to win him rounds in the judges' eyes. In the final round, Charlo really pressed for the knockout, and nearly got it early on. But Harrison was able to survive, which proved to be more important than everyone thought in the moment.
There's no doubt that this was a close fight, but it seemed to most watching that Charlo was in control. He outlanded Harrison, and the reading of the scorecards sent the broadcasters into shock and earned a chorus of boos from the Brooklyn crowd.
As Mike Coppinger noted on Twitter after the fight, he couldn't find a single person on press row who scored the fight for Harrison.
Following the decision, a disgusted Charlo interrupted Harrison's interview to claim that Harrison himself knew the decision was wrong -- a claim Harrison vehemently disputed.
In any case, Harrison offered a rematch, which Charlo accepted in the moment. Of course, that doesn't guarantee anything, and it remains to be seen what will happen for each fighter moving forward.
Charlo seemed to be on a collision course with WBO junior middleweight champion Jarrett "Swift" Hurd, and would likely still love to fight him. Harrison, though, figures to be eager for a shot at Hurd first. Back in 2017, Hurd beat Harrison by TKO in the ninth round of their bout.
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