Tony Harrison dethroned World Boxing Council super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo with a controversial unanimous decision Saturday that brought jeers from the Barclays Center crowd in Brooklyn.
Previously unbeaten Charlo was the aggressor throughout, but neither fighter landed any devastating blows and the judges gave the all-American showdown to Harrison by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113.
The new champion, who improved to 28-2 with 21 wins inside the distance, insisted there should be no doubt about the outcome.
“I grinded. I grinded, I grinded and I grinded,” Harrison said.
“I showed championship composure. I didn’t have to do much. I used my jab. I used my ring generalship. I kept him at bay. He wound up for big shots and I kept my defense tight. All we worked on was defense.
“I got back to my corner after every round and they told me to just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re dictating the pace they said. That’s what champions do. Champions don’t just try to knock people out. That’s all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That’s what champions do.”
Harrison was offering a rematch when the disbelieving Charlo muscled into his ring interview.
“Jermell – you gave me a shot – I’ll give you a rematch,” said Harrison.
The fight was the first of a twin bill that featured Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, who retained his WBC interim middlweight title with a unanimous decision over late substitute Matt Korobov.
Jermall Charlo won by scores of 119-108, 116-112 and 116-112, coming on strong on the later rounds and pummelling Korobov in a decisive 12th to improve to 28-0 with 21 wins inside the distance.
Korobov, who stepped up from the undercard after intended opponent Willie Monroe Jr. failed a drugs test, fell to 28-2.