Jermall Charlo survives fierce challenge from Matt Korobov to retain interim title

NEW YORK— Jermall Charlo watched his twin brother Jermell suffer a controversial upset decision loss to Tony Harrison from the locker room before his fight in a Premier Boxing Champions co-feature on Saturday night.

In the main event, it was Charlo that benefitted from a controversial outcome that awarded him a unanimous decision victory before an announced crowd of 9,177 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The bout was the main event of the first card of the PBC deal with FOX that was finalized in September.

Judge Larry Hazzard Jr. turned in one of the worst scorecards in modern memory with a 119-108 result for Charlo. Max DeLuca and Steve Weisfeld had it 116-112 for Charlo. FightNights.com had it 114-113 for Korobov.

Charlo (28-0, 21 KO's), of Houston, retained the WBC interim middleweight title for the first time. He remains the mandatory challenger for unified 160-pound titleholder Canelo Alvarez, who knocked out Rocky Fielding to win a secondary super middleweight world title last week at Madison Square Garden.

The 28-year-old Charlo was supposed to face Willie Monroe Jr., but the former world title challenger tested positive for a banned substance in a random drug test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), and was replaced by Korobov, who had not fought in a 12-round bout since suffering a sixth-round stoppage to former titlist Andy Lee in December 2014 world title fight. Korobov was initially scheduled to box in an eight-round bout on the card. Instead, he made his second world title appearance.

Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs), 28, of Houston, was supposed face slick boxer, Willie Monroe Jr.,, but five days before the fight Monroe was dumped because he tested positive for a banned substance in a random drug test and was replaced by Korobov, who was supposed to fight an eight-round bout on the undercard but suddenly found himself in the main event in the major fight he had craved.

Korobov, a 2008 Russian Olympian, who won four gold medals across three major amateur tournaments, was viewed as a more superior opponent than Monroe. Additionally, Korobov faced former unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in the 2003 World Championships in Thailand, losing in the gold medal finale 19-10.

Korobov, a southpaw, tagged Charlo all night with his straight left hand. It appeared to many that Korobov could score an upset victory, but Charlo launched a comeback in the final round, beating the challenger from pillar to post.

"I used everything that happened tonight as motivation in the 12th round," Charlo said, referring to his brother's defeat. "I haven't been that far in a fight in a couple of years. It felt good to be in there, get hit and bang with someone. He was an experienced guy who will make me better."

According to Compubox punch statistics, Charlo landed 170 of 654 punches (26 percent), including 56 of 340 jabs, and Korobov connected with 128 of 457 blows (28 percent).

"I had fun in there with an opponent like that," Charlo said. "I got the win, and that's the main thing. I still feel I'm the best in the world. I just need to prove it to the rest of the world."

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