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Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario unification targeted for September

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Both men would make the first defenses of their current reigns, having claimed the belts by knockout

Tony Harrison v Jermell Charlo Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

ESPN brings promising news of the super welterweight division’s hottest fight. According to Steve Kim, the IBF has accepted a unification request for IBF/WBA champion Jeison Rosario to face WBC champion Jermell Charlo; the negotiations are “moving well” and will “most likely” result in the two duking it out in late September.

Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KO), coming off a split decision over Jorge Cota, looked like a victory lap for newly unified champion Julian Williams, who’d battered the heavily favored Jarrett Hurd in a career-best performance. Instead, “Banana” peeled “J-Rock” apart in five rounds to claim the title. Williams elected not to exercise his rematch clause, leaving mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev next in line, but unification takes precedence.

Charlo (33-1, 17 KO) cemented his place atop the 154-pound rankings and avenged his sole career defeat last December with a knockout of Tony Harrison in a barnburner. Though considered the less devastating Charlo twin, he’s now scored six of his last seven wins by (T)KO, and the one exemption saw him put Austin Trout on his butt twice en route to a decision win. Five of those officially went down in the books as flat-out KOs.

I applaud the willingness to stage this fight (presumably) behind closed doors. Now to get it across the finish line.