UNDEFEATED former world champion Jermall Charlo and once-beaten contender Hugo Centeno Jr. discussed their upcoming matchup before they step into the ring on Saturday, April 21 for the WBC Interim Middleweight Title live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING.
The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by a showdown between four-division world champion Adrien Broner and two-division world champion Jessie Vargas. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with former world champions Gervonta Davis and Jesus Cuellar battling for the WBA 130-pound Super Featherweight World Championship.
The Charlo vs. Centeno bout was moved from an original date of March 3 due to a Centeno rib injury, and now the rescheduled bout is just over a week away, with Centeno fully recovered from the ailment.
“My ribs are fine,” said Centeno. “It was a minor injury, but there was no way I could have fought on our originally scheduled date when it happened. I feel great now though. It healed perfectly.”
Centeno will now finally face Charlo, the former 154-pound champion and one half of the devastatingly powerful Charlo twins, along with his brother, current 154-pound champion Jermell. For Jermall, this fight is a chance to begin making his mark in a second division.
“I want to send a message to the world that I’m going to dominate the 160-pound division, while my brother proves he’s the best 154-pounder on the planet,” said Charlo. “Once I get my shot, you will all see what I’m talking about. Hugo Centeno Jr. is just in the way of that process. After April 21, you’ll be able to see what I’m really made of.”
As Centeno winds down training camp at Wild Card Boxing in Hollywood with head trainer Eric Brown, he has made sure to focus on what will happen April 21 instead of any pre-fight talk or hype.
“I am just excited by this opportunity,” said Centeno. “Charlo can say whatever he wants. None of it is going to affect me. On April 21, it’s just me and him in that ring and anything can happen.
“This has been another great camp for me, even with the injury hitch. I’m a night owl who likes to train at all hours. We go late into the night and I think that helps me on fight night.”
Centeno put himself back into the ranks of middleweight contenders with a highlight reel knockout of Immanuwel Aleem last August. Charlo, however, knows that he will pose a different set of problems for Centeno.
“I’m not Immanuwel Aleem and I’ll let you all see that when April 21 gets here,” said Charlo. “It’s a whole different ball game when you get in there trying to trade with me. You better have power, so I hope he’s ready for it.”
Charlo has been hard at work in his hometown of Houston, working with head trainer Ronnie Shields. With the extended training camp, Charlo has had time to improve on his already lethal arsenal.
“I’m still improving as a fighter,” said Charlo. “I’ve gotten faster, sharper and I’m able to take more punches than I used to. I’ve been working hard to increase my punch output as well. Nobody can do what I’m doing in the ring.
“Boxing is all about adjusting and that’s what I’m good at. That’s my best attribute and my team has worked with me so I can make that adjustment on fight night. We always go into the ring ready to fight a different fight than the time before.”
With fight night nearing, both fighters are gearing up to head to Brooklyn with the hopes of announcing themselves as a danger in the 160-pound division on April 21.
“I’ve fought on some big stages in my career, but nothing compares to this,” said Centeno. “This is my first title shot and I’m going to take full advantage. I’m not worried about Charlo or being the underdog or anything really. I know I have what it takes to win this fight.”
“Hugo is in the way of my process right now,” said Charlo. “I’ve got to go through him to get to my goal. We’ll see if he’s able to hold up against the power, speed and athleticism that I have. If not, I’m going to hurt him, real bad.”