Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (26-0, 11 KOs) defeated Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision with scores of 97-93, and 96-94 X2. This was a very close fight with the swing rounds going Charlo’s way. The matching cards by two of the judges were a better indicator of what occurred in the ring than their colleagues’ absurd four point difference.
Both fighters came out looking to establish their jab. Martirosyan controlled the pace early as Charlo looked to counter. Martirosyan was working the body well and seemed to surprise Charlo with his speed. Charlo looked to counter but was hesitant early and was not moving as much as he usually does which opened up opportunities for Martirosyan to work to the body. Charlo had an almost three inch reach advantage but it was mostly a non factor throughout the fight.
In the third round, Charlo began to move more and began landing one-two combinations and straight rights down the middle. This formula was effective for Charlo as he continued this approach over the next few rounds and controlled most of those rounds by using movement, an active jab, and timely straight rights.
Martirosyan also had plenty of moments as he stalked Charlo and landed counter rights but he didn’t sustain his attack to the body through the middle rounds. Charlo’s movement contributed to Martirosyan’s inability to continue his work to the body. Martirosyan was the more accurate puncher in some of the closer rounds but his activity level may have impacted the judge’s scores in those rounds.
In the post fight interview, Showtime’s Jim Gray asked Martirosyan why he didn’t stay consistent with the plan of attacking the body,
“It’s a ten round fight, the whole week I’ve been pushing for a twelve round fight, they told me it’s a title fight then it’s not a title fight, we were ready for twelve rounds, we were hoping it was twelve rounds, I found out yesterday it was ten rounds, we wanted twelve rounds, we thought that it would be better for us, we went to the body early so later on we could bring his legs down so we could attack up top and that’s what we did; I honestly thought I won the fight”
In the eighth round, an accidental headbutt caused a small cut over Martirosyan’s left eye. The fight was stopped as the ringside physician examined the injury. The doctor asked Martirosyan to open his eye but Martirosyan was having difficulty doing so. The doctor asked Martirosyan if he could see, Martirosyan replied that his vision was blurry and he was having a hard time opening his eye. The doctor implied that he would stop the fight if Martirosyan could not continue. Martirosyan stated that he was ok to continue.
When the fight resumed, Martirosyan attacked Charlo in a sense of urgency. Both fighters landed aggressively to the bell.
In the post fight interview, Gray asked Martirosyan how the head butt affected him through the rest of the fight and if his vision was blurry,
“It was blurry but the doctor told me they are either going to stop the fight or the fight would continue, I could barely see but I was ok to fight, we’re warriors, we fight, I can’t just quit like that, I have to go all the way”
The last two rounds were close but neither combatant fully controlled either round. After the fight both fighters spoke about the decision,
Said Charlo of his victory, “I knew I had a game plan, Vanes wanted to attack with the right hand and he also can move a little bit. I was smart in the ring, I did what I had to do, I got the victory and we’re on to the next”
“I got a son at home, Eli, I knew what time it was, I heard him in the sixth round, get on it, get on it, I ended the sixth round well, I came back in the seventh round, Ronnie (Shields) told me to step it up a little more, I did that, every round I elevated my game”
Countered Martirosyan on if he thought he won the fight,
“A hundred percent, I mean he ran the whole fight, I mean he did land a couple of punches, but I was pushing the action, I pushed the action, I won the last round, I thought it was close, you know whoever won the last round won the fight, I thought I clearly did that, I mean one judge had it ninety-seven, the other judges had it by one point. I honestly think I won the fight, I mean he ran the whole fight, it’s not the Olympics, its professional boxing”
The bout was billed as a super welterweight eliminator. After the win, Charlo commented on if he is ready to fight for a title,
“Absolutely, I feel like I’m ready, my brother’s ready, we’re steady climbing, if they don’t give us a title, they’ll give us something”
This article contributed to BTG.