“Lions Only.” The motto has defined the rise of twin brothers Jermell and Jermall Charlo through the boxing ranks on their way to becoming world champions.

A Boxing Family

Born one minute apart on May 19th, 1990 in Lafayette, Louisiana before moving to Houston, Texas, the brothers were introduced to boxing at eight years of age by their father, Kevin Charlo, a former amateur fighter. Kevin raised his sons in a disciplined environment teaching them “that purpose is nothing without patience and persistence.”

Using the mentality their father instilled in them, the identical twins dominated the amateur circuit. Jermell finished with a record of 56 wins and eight losses and won bronze at the 2005 Junior Olympics at 15 years old; while Jermall ended with a record of 65 wins and six losses.

Jermell decided to turn pro in 2007, however Jermall continued on as an amateur to pursue a spot on the 2008 United States Olympic team. A toe injury prevented him from competing in the Olympics and soon after decided to turn pro.

Rising Up the Ranks

Making their debuts in the 154 pound junior middleweight division a year a part, Jermell and Jermall set out to add their names to the long list of boxing legends.

After winning their first pro bouts, the twin brothers continued to dominate the competition under the tutelage of trainer Ronnie Shields.

Rising up the ranks with a perfect 21-0 record, 11 by knockout, Jermall earned his first title shot in September 2015. He stopped Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (34-6, 19 KOs) in the third round to win his first world title, the IBF junior middleweight belt.

Jermall, nicknamed “Hitman,” went onto successfully defend his IBF crown three times in convincing fashion: a fourth round knockout of “Silky” Wilky Campfort (21-2, 12 KOs) in November 2015, a unanimous decision against former world champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) in May 2016, and a vicious fifth round knockout of Julian “J Rock” Williams (22-1-1, 14 KOs) in December 2016.

His annihilation of Williams was a shock since many believed it would be the toughest fight of his career. The fight showcased Jermall’s superior talent and punching power as he delivered a devastating right uppercut followed by a left hook that scored him a knockout victory in a spectacular performance.

After compiling an undefeated 27-0 record, with 12 knockouts, Jermell decided to leave longtime trainer Ronnie Shields to work with Derrick James, who trains IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.

“The personality Derrick had fit into my lifestyle better than it did anybody else, stated Jermell on USA TODAY Sports. “Ronnie Shields was the type of person that said not to open a boxing gym, and stay in place and eventually you’ll get fame, you’ll get money, you’ll get these things, there’s no point in opening a business because it puts more stress and most boxing gyms don’t do well anyway.”

Jermell, nicknamed “Iron Man,” secured his first title opportunity in May 2016 after Floyd Mayweather retired and vacated his belts. Down on all three scorecards after the seventh round, he rallied to win by knockout in the eighth round against John Jackson (20-3, 15 KOs) to capture the vacant WBC junior middleweight belt.

The win cemented the Charlos in history as the first twins to hold world titles in the same division at the same time.

As the junior middleweight division now had to go through the brothers, the WBC ordered Jermell to face two mandatory challengers. He successfully retained his belt twice with a brutal third round knockout of Charles Hatley (26-2, 18 KOs) in April 2017 followed by a first round demolition of Erickson Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs) in November 2017.

Jermell’s destruction of the 2016 ESPN and Ring Magazine Prospect of the Year with a swift right uppercut was a statement to rest of the junior middleweight division that he’s the best 154 pounder.

Although Jermall is regarded as the bigger puncher of the two, Derrick James’ work with Jermell has turned him from a defensive counterpuncher into a knockout machine.

“I feel like I’m a completely different fighter now,” explained Jermell on The Ring. “A new diet with a younger trainer who worries about his personal life and will get out an run with him has made a world of difference. What you will see is a more explosive fighter who will hurt people when he lands.”

With Jermell ranked as the best junior middleweight in the world by ESPN, Jermall had little left to achieve in the division and decided to vacate his IBF belt to move up to the 160 pound middleweight division.

“I felt I did everything at that time to be the best at 154 pounds and with my twin brother having the belt, Erislandy Lara having the belt, it was better opportunity at 160,” expressed Jermall on ESPN. “I [now] have to do what I did in 154 pounds or they’re not going to think I’m real. So my job is to fight as hard as I can and train as hard as I can and fulfill my dream of becoming [a] two-time, two-division world champion.”

In his first middleweight fight in July 2017, Jermall used the overmatched Jorge Sebastian Heiland (29-5, 15 KOs) as target practice before stopping him in the fourth round to become the mandatory challenger to current IBF, WBA, and WBC titleholder and The Ring’s pound-for-pound king Gennady Golovkin.

The Future

As 2018 approaches, the Charlos look to build on their success from 2017.

With Jermall (26-0, 20 KOs) scheduled to fight in January against Hugo Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs) for the Interim WBC middleweight title, Jermell (30-0, 15 KOs) hopes to fight either WBA and IBO junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) or IBF junior middleweight titleholder Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) to unify the division.

The brothers’ unmatched work ethic will ensure their rise to the apex of their respective divisions as they continue to push each other to reach new levels.

“Growing up, we were always competitive with each other, wanting to be first and wanting to be the best at stuff,” said Jermall on Bleacher Report. “I guess that’s just our nature. And at the same time, we’re both very hard to beat because we are so very similar to each other.”

Jermell and Jermall will soon become household names, if they aren’t already. Their journey together hasn’t been easy, but their accomplishments so far prove that Team Charlo is here to stay.

“We’re here to take over 2018 and want the fans to enjoy it.”

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