Jermell Charlo will be stripped of his WBO junior middleweight title, meaning his days as undisputed champion at 154 lbs are over — or, at least, they soon will be.
The WBO have ruled that Charlo “will be allowed to enter the ring as WBO champion and announced as such” for his fight with Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 30, which will take place at 168 lbs for Canelo’s undisputed title, and upon that official announcement that he does still hold the belt, he will be immediately stripped, with Tim Tszyu elevated from interim champion to full champion status.
This is sort of what we expected when Canelo vs Charlo was announced, that the sanctioning bodies would play ball with PBC and Showtime marketing “Undisputed vs Undisputed,” and then when it was over, Charlo would either be stripped of or vacate at least one or some of his junior middleweight belts in order to keep the fight’s marketing intact, but having it officially spelled out as exactly that in very drawn-out, legal terms is kind of funny, at least.
It also needs to be noted that if Canelo vs Charlo doesn’t take place on Sept. 30 — “for whatever reasons” — the WBO are still going to strip Charlo and Tszyu will be elevated to full title status.
So for all it matters, for all intents and purposes, Tim Tszyu is officially your WBO junior middleweight titleholder now. But not officially so until Sept. 30, or any time ahead of that if the Canelo vs Charlo bout is canceled or postponed.
You’ll recall that Charlo and Tszyu were meant to fight early this year, with the bout scrapped. Tszyu has been the WBO’s mandatory challenger for years at this point, and has held the interim belt since beating Tony Harrison on Mar. 12, following that up with a June 18 wipeout win over Carlos Ocampo, a defense of the interim belt.
Tszyu recently stated that Charlo should be stripped, and he’s basically getting his wish, and it’s the right decision.
No word yet on what the other sanctioning bodies will do, but since the Tszyu issue has been very public, the WBO probably felt the need to comment publicly. The other three — the WBC, WBA, and IBF — may simply wait until after the Canelo vs Charlo fight to see if Charlo would rather vacate than be stripped.
Charlo has not defended any of his titles or fought at all since beating Brian Castano in May 2022, which fully unified the 154 lb division.