Jermall Charlo retained his WBC middleweight title by outpointing Sergiy Derevyanchenko over 12 fast-paced rounds in the "first main event" of a two-part Showtime PPV card at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Saturday.
At the end of the fight, all three judges had the fight for Charlo, 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110.
Charlo had his way, utilizing his superior height and reach to box effectively to start the fight, but Derevyanchenko eventually made adjustments and was able to get inside and had his moments. The wide scorecards don't show how difficult Derevyanchenko made things for Charlo.
It was Charlo who jumped out quickly, even shaking the challenger late in the third round with a chopping overhand right that wobbled Derevyanchenko. But as he proved against Daniel Jacobs and Gennadiy Golovkin in the past, Derevyanchenko would not go gently into the night.
Derevyanchenko settled in, began to close the distance in the middle rounds, and steadily landed punches with both hands. He would go to the body with left hands and land solid right hands over the top. But Charlo didn't back away and he was more than willing to stand and trade with Derevyanchenko.
Both boxers landed their fair share of power punches, but Charlo was a bit faster and more accurate. There were several times when Derevyanchenko was buzzed and his face was bruised, and he was bleeding from the left eye in the second half of the contest. Yet through it all, Derevyanchenko kept coming and backed up Charlo along the ropes and let his hands go.
He landed 180 punches (of 681 thrown), the most landed on Charlo in his career, but he was outpaced by Charlo, who landed 219 of 627.
"I made my team proud and I did what I was supposed to do," Charlo, 30, said after the fight. "I executed the game plan. [Trainer] Ronnie Shields told me that I passed the test tonight. I'm happy to go back to the drawing board now and figure out what's next.
"He was tough, but I knew he was going to be tough. I knew he'd come to fight, I just didn't know how and when he'd try to turn it up. I felt like I never really let him turn it up and that was the game plan. I studied well and I didn't let the pandemic affect my training. I just want to keep fighting and not let any negative interrupt the positive."
While Derevyanchenko, 34, showed once again that he's one of the toughest outs in the middleweight division, Charlo solidified his claim as one of the elites in it. "The big fights are out there," Charlo said. "I'm steady learning and growing and stepping up in competition."
Derevyanchenko falls to 0-3 in world title fights, with all losses coming by decision (Jacobs, Golovkin, Charlo).