ONTARIO, Calif. — Jermell Charlo reclaimed the WBC Super Welterweight Championship from Tony Harrison with a blistering stoppage at 2:08 of the 11th round in a FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif.
Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) lost the title to Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision last December. In the buildup to the rematch, there was much animosity between the two boxers. The heated atmosphere surrounding the fight made for a much-anticipated grudge match.
"I got the belt back and I didn't leave it up to the judges,'' Charlo said. "Tony is a former champion. He had a lot on the line. I dominated and I knocked him out."
Charlo dropped Harrison for the first time in the second frame. He said it was a signal to let Harrison know that his power was real.
"It let him know that the power was real and 2020 is going to be real,'' Charlo said. "It's going to get loud.''
Harrison didn't argue with the stoppage.
"Jack is a championship referee. I started getting a little lax and got caught,'' Harrison said. "He earned it. I hate it, but he earned it. The game plan was to do a little boxing. But taking a year off, my boxing wasn't used to it. He earned it and no excuses. I got caught slipping. I never trade offense for defense. He caught me in between. I feel like I let us down. I let me down. It's one on one. Back to the drawing board.''
In the 11th round, Charlo caught Harrison with a devastating right hand that dropped Harrison for the second time in the fight. Harrison managed to get up from that knockdown and Charlo charged ahead again, opening up with a barrage of punches, dropping him onto the second rope again.
Charlo thought the fight was over and jumped up on the ropes in Harrison's corner as referee Jack Reiss hovered over the prone Harrison. But Harrison managed to get back to his feet and Reiss allowed the fight to continue. Harrison was hurt and Charlo opened up on him again, forcing Reiss to step in and finally call a halt to the match.
Harrison and Charlo spent the first half of the bout fighting in close quarters, firing uppercuts and short hooks to the body. Both men appeared to enjoy the close proximity. Charlo dropped Harrison with a sharp left-right combination in the second stanza, which seemed to embolden him to keep head hunting. Harrison managed to keep his head about him and settled into an easy rhythm as he tried to walk Charlo down.
Charlo picked up his pace in the later rounds and tried to force Harrison to fight at a faster tempo, but he couldn't force Harrison into the type of firefight that would work to his advantage. Harrison maintained his easy pace, working behind a consistent jab and landing clean punches.
Just like the first match, Harrison was hoping that his steady pace behind the jab would carry the night. It did until it didn't, and then Charlo brought matters to a conclusion.
Charlo said the animosity that built up before the rematch is real.
"Listen, I'm a gentleman at the end of the day. I showed my respect, but at the end of the day I don't like the dude. He can get it again, but I'm off to bigger and better things. I'm down for making history. He held the title too long and I had to come back and get it."