The undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion expects to deliver one of his finest performances when he faces top contender Sergey Derevyanchenko this Saturday on SHOWTIME PPV.
Jermall Charlo, the unbeaten WBC World Middleweight Champion from Houston, is all about family. It’s what he fights for these days. He enjoys hanging out at home with his wife and five kids and avoids trouble like he might avoid a wicked left hook.
Charlo, older twin brother of WBC World Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo, and his wife Shantel are the parents of four sons and a daughter. They live a lavish lifestyle in a Houston mansion complete with bowling lanes, swimming pools, theaters, and an indoor basketball court.
The fighter enjoys cooking and on any given day can be found in the kitchen honing another craft. “Oh, my god, I cooked yesterday, I cooked for everybody,” he gushed by phone recently. “They doubted me, they didn’t think it would taste so good. And everyone left taking home plates. I’m telling you, you gotta get a load of this. It’s amazing over here.”
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on the sports world, particularly with live audiences. Boxing is no different. But Charlo, who calls himself “The Future of Boxing”, is quick to point out a positive side of the global calamity.
“My life has got better since COVID. I’ve gotten a chance to spend a lot more quality time with my kids, and I learned a lot more things about my family and myself in general,” Charlo explained.
“I was going to be in quarantine anyway, because we always quarantine when we train… Of course, my kids couldn’t go to school. So we had to start home-schooling. And I became a better scientist and a better teacher.”
Kevin Charlo, the twins’ dad, was an amateur boxer who brought his athletic, then-eight-year-old sons into the sport that has made them rich and famous. They played other sports in high school, but both remained drawn to boxing.
Their fighting styles were molded by legendary trainer Ronnie Shields, who taught them all they needed to know about the sweet science. Shields, 77, has worked with the likes of Hall of Famers Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Pernell Whitaker. He took the Charlos from raw talent to champions.
“He’s like a father figure to me; he’s my kids’ grandpa,” says Jermall, nicknamed “The Hit Man.” “He’s a friend, he teaches me all kinds of stuff, he’s just smart. He’s a loving dude, man. You can’t ask for a better person to be in your life.”
While Jermell broke away from Shields to train under Derrick James shortly before the twins made history by becoming 154-pound champions on the same card in May 2016, Jermall plans to finish his career with him. He moved up to middleweight after pummeling then-unbeaten Julian “J-Rock” Williams in December 2016 and hasn’t looked back.
“If Ronnie retires, I will too,” Jermall insisted. “I’m dead (serious). I’m not going to box anymore if I can’t be taught by Ronnie Shields. Life wouldn’t be the same. I wouldn’t be the same fighter and I wouldn’t want to take the risk without Ronnie.”
Not to worry, Shields says: “If I was to retire when he was still a champion, he would continue to keep working. He knows me and he knows I’m definitely not going to retire anytime soon. And he’s going to be a champion for a long, long time.”
Shields will again be in Jermall’s corner thus Saturday, September 26 when the Charlo twins headline their first pay-per-view event (live on SHOWTIME PPV, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) in an unprecedented doubleheader featuring five world title bouts from the empty Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“ “Derevyanchenko is tough but I’m tougher. He’s fast but I’m faster. He’s smart but I’m smarter.” ” Undefeated WBC World Middleweight Champion - Jermall Charlo
Jermall (30-0, 22 KOs) puts his title on the line against 34-year-old contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs), whose two losses came on close decisions against two of the top middleweights in the world, Gennadiy Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, bouts many believe he won.
It’s amazing, Jermall says, to have such a major event fall into the family’s lap at this time. “This couldn’t have come at a better time in our lives,” he said, “especially going through this pandemic, and just being off from boxing. I’ve been off since December. It’s been a good time to sit back and reflect. I can’t complain, because this is what’s it’s supposed to be for me right now.”
Now 30 with 30 professional fights in his rearview mirror, Jermall still has the hunger to continue fighting at a high level.
“Aw, man, I’m as hungry as ever. My team is taking care of me like a baby. And I’m so well kept. I don’t do nothing. I sit on my ass and they do everything for me,” he said, chuckling. “My nanny Brenda takes care of me, takes care of my babies. There’s no stress. I really can’t complain about life right now. I’m like the Fresh Prince of Belair. I got my feet kicked up all day just waiting for the fight to come.”
At home, maybe. But in the gym there’s no stopping him.
“You gotta kick the guy out of the gym. That’s how dedicated he is to his craft,” Shields said. “This is something you can’t take lightly; you have to concentrate fully on boxing and boxing alone, and that’s what he’s done and has been doing for quite a few years. He understands what’s in front of him and that’s why he’s a champion.
“He wants to fight the best. Sergiy lost two close decisions and Jermall said, ‘look, I’m the champion, let me fight the No. 1 guy.’ This is who he wanted, and he just wants to prove that he is the world champion.”
Jermall claims he hasn’t yet thought much about Derevyanchenko.
“Maybe because we’re in a pandemic, and usually there’d be a press conference,” Charlo said. “I just know that we had a championship-type fight with a sparring partner, he was coming at me the same way (as he expects Derevyanchenko to do) and I knocked him out. I knocked everybody out. I feel crazy, I feel super powerful, like my motor is running; maybe my mind has met up with my physical ability, but it’s crazy. I don’t know man, I’m just great right now.”
Still there are those who underestimate Charlo’s skill set. Jermall enjoys proving the doubters wrong.
“You got to look at me, man. I’m amazed myself. I’m one of the best in the world,” he said. “They didn’t like Michael Jordan, they didn’t like Muhammad Ali, they doubted Jesus. This is just part of life. Honestly, I feel good. I feel amazing, I think my power has increased. My speed and my eyesight and everything, I’m so healed up. I’m so natural, I’m so grateful to be so great.”
Derevyanchenko may be his toughest foe to date, but to Jermall he’s just another link in his legacy.
“That’s just part of being great,” said the champion. “Don’t worry, I got something for Derevyanchenko on the 26th. I will wake him up. It’s going to be a fight – you know I fight so many different styles – so I’m prepared for whatever he brings.
“Derevyanchenko is tough but I’m tougher. He’s fast but I’m faster. He’s smart but I’m smarter.”
For a closer look at Jermall Charlo, check out his fighter page.