The effort to crown an undisputed junior middleweight champion has encountered another hurdle.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Brian Castano has been forced to pull out of a scheduled rematch with Jermell Charlo after sustaining a minor bicep tear during training camp. The fight was scheduled to take place on March 19 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles but is forced into another delay.
This could affect the undisputed championship status for such a fight, which faces a minimum delay of at least four weeks. Efforts to contact Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) for comment have not been returned at the time of publication.
The four sanctioning bodies have agreed to refrain from ordering mandatory title defenses to allow Charlo (34-1-1, 18KOs) and Castano (17-0-2, 12KOs) to enter a rematch with the lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO titles on the line after their controversial split decision draw on July 17 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Hopes of rescheduling the fight late last year have instead been pushed back to late Q1 2022, with March 19 booked for the planned sequel.
The rematch was officially – albeit encrypted – announced on February 3, with a 71-word press release confirming the date and location of the fight. A TV platform was not revealed, and event managers did not move forward with a press conference – standard practice for such events since the pandemic.
Castano’s injury comes at the worst possible time. The WBO – whose title he won in a 12-round victory over Patrick Teixeira on February 13 – has agreed to file plans to order a mandatory title defense against Australian Tim Tszyu. The deal came with plans for Tszyu to face 2012 U.S. Olympian and veteran trials horse Terrel Gausha on March 19, with the idea that the winners would face each other.
The delay could prompt the WBO to order this fight instead, which could create a domino effect. Charlo has a mandatory due with the IBF (Bakhram Murtazaliev (19-0, 14KOs), who has appeared on the Texan’s last two undercards), while Erickson Lubin (24-1, 17KOs) and Sebastian Fundora (18- 0-1, 12KOs) are set to collide in April, in a fight that was expected to guarantee the winner a shot at the WBC title.
Israil Madrimov (8-0, 6KOs) is the current WBA mandatory challenger.
Charlo had two successful defenses of the WBC title which he reclaimed in an eleventh round knockout of Tony Harrison in their December 2019 rematch. Both defenses were unification bouts. Charlo scored an eighth-round knockout of Jeison Rosario (21-1-1, 15 KOs at the time) in September 2020 to retain his WBC title while winning the IBF/WBA titles and becoming the recognized lineal champion.
Jake Donovan is Senior Writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox