Three su­per wel­ter­weight champs de­fend crowns

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

NEW YORK: World su­per wel­ter­weight cham­pi­ons Eris­landy Lara, Jer­mell Charlo and Jar­rett Hurd de­fend their crowns Saturday in New York in a triple-header pit­ting Amer­i­can ti­tle-hold­ers against elite US chal­lengers.

The bat­tle for brag­ging rights in the 154-pound weight class at Barclays Cen­ter fea­tures Charlo (29-0 with 14 knock­outs) fac­ing south­paw Erick­son Lu­bin (18-0 with 13 knock­outs) in a matchup of un­beat­ens for the World Box­ing Coun­cil crown.

Un­de­feated Hurd, the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion king of the di­vi­sion at 20-0 with 14 knock­outs, meets south­paw and for­mer world cham­pion Austin Trout (30-3 with 17 knock­outs).

Cuban-born US south­paw Lara, the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pion at 24-22 with 14 knock­outs, takes on un­beaten 2012 US Olympian Ter­rell Gausha, 20-0 with nine knock­outs.

"This is a dis­play of the top 154-pounders in the world," Hurd said. "All the fans should ex­pect fire­works."

It will be the first de­fense by Hurd, 27, of the va­cant ti­tle he took by stop­ping com­pa­triot Tony Har­ri­son in Fe­bru­ary.

Trout, 32, lost ti­tle fights to Lara, Mex­ico's Canelo Al­varez and 17 months ago to Charlo's brother Jer­mall in his most re­cent bout -- all by de­ci­sion.

"I'm feel­ing great," Hurd said. "I re­ally want to go out here and make a state­ment and be the first to stop Austin Trout and send him into re­tire­ment."

Hurd, how­ever, has never been past the 10th round.

"You know this man isn't go­ing to last 12 rounds," Trout said. "I'm go­ing to drown this kid. We're tak­ing him into deep wa­ters. This is un­char­tered ter­ri­tory for him."

Charlo, 27, makes his sec­ond de­fense of the va­cant crown he won by knock­out from US Vir­gin Is­lan­der John Jack­son in May 2016 and re­tained by knock­ing out coun­try­man Charles Hat­ley in April at the Barclays Cen­ter.

"There are so many pos­i­tive things com­ing from this fight card," Charlo said. "It's go­ing to do a lot for box­ing and the 154-pound di­vi­sion."

Charlo had some trees at his Hous­ton home flat­tened by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey last month and he hopes to pro­vide ex­tra in­spi­ra­tion for a city still suf­fer­ing from the floods brought by the storm.

"It's so im­por­tant for me to bring a world ti­tle back to Hous­ton," Charlo said. "It's not about the world ti­tle. Be­cause my city needs it. My fam­ily needs it. My son loves it. There­fore, I've got my life on the line."

Lara, 34, has won five fights in a row since a 2014 loss to Al­varez and makes his fifth ti­tle de­fense with an eye to­ward uni­fi­ca­tion and down­ing his ri­val cham­pi­ons later.

"I have to be a smart boxer to win this fight. I'm go­ing to have to show a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing: show my box­ing, and show my power," Lara said.

"Ab­so­lutely I want to unify. That's what I'm here for -- to win all the belts. Af­ter this fight, hope­fully one of th­ese young guns will step up to the plate and fight me. I will show ev­ery­body I'm the best in the 154-pound di­vi­sion and I'm here for a long time." - AFP

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