Jermell Charlo Vacates His IBF Junior Middleweight Title

Jermell Charlo has vacated his IBF junior middleweight belt instead of facing his mandatory Bakhram Murtazaliev.

The news follows the recent decision of the WBO to strip Charlo of his WBO belt after the boxer’s fight with Canelo Alvarez. The belt was removed after Charlo failed to fight Tim Tszyu, who had long been the WBO mandatory as the latter was elevated to the status of a full champion. A purse bid was set to take place on November 21st, 2023, which has now been canceled. Murtazaliev will now most likely take on Jack Culcay, who is the next-highest-ranked fighter.

The news should not come as a surprise since Murtazaliev had been a mandatory for more than three years. The Russian became the mandatory in 2019 after beating Jorge Fortea. Thereafter, Charlo had agreed to face Murtazaliev once they had done the Brian Castano rematch. That failed to happen after the WBO called their mandatory first, as Charlo was meant to face Tszyu, which failed to happen. And given that things went full circle with the IBF mandatory being called, Charlo gave up the belt.

This raises question marks over where the American goes next. A fight with Terence Crawford or Tim Tszyu appears to be the biggest one available. But with one less belt at his disposal, does Charlo have the desire to make those fights? Outside of that, there is a chance that Charlo moves up to 160, given that it would not be a big drop down from 168 following his last fight. And after having become undisputed at 154, there is nothing else to prove.

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