By Jake Donovan and Keith Idec
Bitter rivals Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo will have to wait a few more months to settle their differences in the ring.
An anticipated June 23 rematch between the pair of top-rated super welterweights has been postponed. The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger was the first to report Monday afternoon that Harrison has withdrawn from their second bout.
BoxingScene.com has learned that an ankle injury suffered by Harrison during training camp has put the Detroit native on the sidelines. Harrison is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday to repair torn ligaments in his ankle.
Charlo likely will have to wait until late this year to get his shot at winning back the WBC 154-pound championship.
BoxingScene.com also has been informed that to remain in position for this rematch, Charlo will have to get past Harrison’s substitute, Mexico’s Jorge Cota, on June 23. Pending approval from FOX, the bout between Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) and Cota (28-3, 25 KOs) is expected to headline a “PBC on FOX” doubleheader that night from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Cota, 31, lost his last fight. The Dominican Republic’s Jeison Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) edged Cota by split decision in their 10-round bout April 20 in Carson, California.
Cota also lost by fourth-round technical knockout to Erickson Lubin in March 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Charlo knocked out Lubin (20-1, 15 KOs) in the first round of their October 2017 title fight at Barclays Center.
The chief support for FOX’s June 23 show remains intact. Lineal super bantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux – Cuba’s two-time Olympic Gold medalist – will defend his crown versus Mexico’s Julio Ceja, a former 122-pound titlist.
His injury is a bitter disappointment for Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs), who won the WBC 154-pound title thanks to a hotly contested 12-round decision over Houston’s Charlo (31-1, 15 KOs) on December 22 at Barclays Center. That bout served as part of the first primetime show of the rebranded “PBC on FOX” series, which peaked at more than 2.4 million viewers.
Harrison came up aces in his second attempt at a major title. The 28-year old boxer suffered a ninth-round TKO loss to then-unbeaten Jarrett Hurd in their February 2017 fight for the then-vacant IBF junior middleweight title.
Nearly two years later, he upset Charlo won win the WBC crown.
Despite Harrison’s injury, the Charlos still will headline separate shows late in June.
Jermall Charlo will top a June 29 edition of “Showtime Championship Boxing” live from his hometown of Houston. Jermall Charlo (28-0, 21 KOs) will defend his WBC interim middleweight title against Los Angeles’ Brandon Adams (21-2, 13 KOs).
Jermell Charlo (31-1, 15KOs) had hoped to bring his old title back home by that point, along with settling a developing beef with his heated rival. Their disdain for one another reached a fever pitch when their rematch was formally announced during a press conference last month in Los Angeles.