One year after Tony Harrison won a heavily disputed decision and a junior middleweight world title in upset fashion against Jermell Charlo, they will meet again in a rematch on Dec. 21.
The rematch was originally scheduled to take place on June 23 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but Harrison withdrew after suffering an inner and outer right ankle sprain that included torn ligaments.
Now that Harrison's ankle is healed, the rematch has been rescheduled and will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card (Fox and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET) at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, PBC announced on Tuesday. The rematch will take place one day shy of one year since the first fight.
When Harrison, who has not fought since the first fight, dropped out because of the injury, Charlo instead faced late replacement Jorge Cota and knocked him out in the third round.
"After a dramatic and razor-thin (decision in the) first fight, Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo are sure to be at their best on Dec. 21 when they settle their rivalry," said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions.
In his second opportunity to fight for a 154-pound world title, Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs), 29, of Detroit, outpointed Charlo (32-1, 16 KOs), 29, of Houston, by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113 to win the belt on Dec. 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. But the result was widely viewed as highly controversial with both fighters declaring they were the rightful winner.
"The delay just made me even hungrier heading into this fight," Harrison said. "Watching Charlo the night we were supposed to go shine (against Cota) and rejuvenate himself, it built up so much hunger in me. I'm tired of the talk and the noise. I'm ready to go."
Harrison believes he clearly won their first encounter, but said he is making some small adjustments for the sequel.
"We're looking to work smarter this time," Harrison said. "I think everything I did before worked, but we want to make it even more decisive. The plan is to be more technically sound overall. You may see an early knockout. It's tense between both parties. I'm pretty sure he wants to knock me out as much as I want to knock him out. Whoever has the best plan will win, but I'm by far the better athlete. Athlete-for-athlete it's not even close. I'll beat him in everything, running, basketball, football. My style is perfect for his style. He's Shane Mosley to my Vernon Forrest. I'll beat him every time I face him.''
Charlo was making the fourth defense of his title the night he met Harrison and was a significant favorite after having already defeated former titlist Austin Trout, rising contender Erickson Lubin and Charles Hatley in defenses with Harrison having been knocked out by Jarrett Hurd the first time he fought for a world title in 2017.
"I still feel strongly that I won that first fight and I'm going to do things in a more dominant fashion this time," Charlo said. "I'm coming in to this fight being the overpowering, strong, ferocious Jermell Charlo. Tony Harrison is not on my level. It's my job on Dec. 21 to prove that and to prove my worth. I'm coming in there mentally focused. When I fought Jorge Cota, that's a prelim of what's to be expected from me in the future."
Charlo blew Cota away when they met, with two knockdowns in the third round before the one-sided bout was halted.
"I want to look for the knockout and set it up," Charlo said of his plans for Harrison. "I don't want it to go the judges. That's my worst nightmare. If it does go 12 rounds, he's going to be very injured at the end. The loss taught me how to be more patient and to take things step by step. I'm going to show everyone why Jermell Charlo is a threat to the whole 154-pound division. I personally feel I'm the best in the division. I'm an upgraded Jermell Charlo that you'll see on Dec. 21."