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Jermell Charlo must defend against Bakhram Murtazaliev next

Jermell Charlo boxing photo

By Sean Jones: Undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo will need to defend against his IBF mandatory Bakhram Murtazaliev next rather than WBO mandatory Tim Tszyu.

Dan Rafael has a copy of a document that Jermell (35-1-1, 19 KOs) earlier this year, stating that he would defend against his unbeaten IBF mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev (20-0, 15 KOs) next if he successfully got past WBO champion Brian Castano in their rematch.

Rafael’s copy of the document Jermell Charlo signed promising to face IBF mandatory Bakhram Murtazaliev.

The logical question is, how could Jermell not be aware that he’d already signed to face Murtazaliev next, and couldn’t fight Tszyu until after that.

It’s unclear whether Jermell will take the fight with the 29-year-old Murtazaliev, who currently resides in Oxnard, California, or if he’ll vacate his IBF strap and take the match against Tim Tszyu next.

Murtazaliev’s eight-year professional record is filled with obscure no-name opposition from top to bottom, and Sean Jones can’t figure out who he defeated that is worthy of him being the mandatory challenger with the International Boxing Federation.

¬†Murtazaliev’s last eight opponents:

  • Ahmad Cheikho (18-7)
  • Khiary Gray (16-5)
  • Manny Woods (16-9)
  • Jorge Fortea (20-1-1)
  • Bruno Leonardo Romay (21-6)
  • Elvin Ayala (29-12-1)
  • Norberto Gonzalez (23-11)
  • Fernando Carcamo (23-8)

A few of those guys have been around a long, long time, but they’re arguably not nearly good enough for Murtazaliev to be getting a title shot as the IBF 154-lb mandatory to Charlo.

You’d like to think that the IBF would have insisted that Murtazaliev beat one of these contenders to earn a mandatory spot to face Jermell next:

  • Tim Tszyu
  • Carlos Adames
  • Israil Madrimov
  • Danny Garcia
  • Sebastian Fundora
  • Charles Conwell
  • Liam Smith

The main problem with collecting a lot of titles is that the champion gets stuck having to defend against a lot of contenders that the casual boxing fans have never heard of.

In Jermell’s case, it might be a good thing that he’s fighting an obscure contender that has never beaten anyone of note during his career. This increases the chances that Jermell win, and hold onto his four titles longer than he otherwise would be if he had to face Tim Tszyu or Terence Crawford next.

Jermell is coming off the biggest win of his career against Brian Castano, and he obviously was hoping to keep the momentum going with his career. In Charlo’s previous fight, he’d fought Castano to a 12-round draw last year in a fight that many boxing fans felt the Argentinian won.

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