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Charlo twins flip coin to decide headliner for card

Jermell and Jermall Charlo, who made history in 2016 as the first twins to hold world titles simultaneously in the same division when they were competing as junior middleweights, may have vowed never to fight each other, but that does not mean they don’t compete outside the ring.

The 28-year-olds from Houston are both scheduled to defend their belts on the same card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Dec. 22 (Fox and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET) in the first show of Premier Boxing Champions’ new four-year rights deal with Fox, and both wanted to be in the main event.

To decide which fight would be the main event, they conducted a coin flip at the kickoff news conference on Thursday. New Yorker and former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney flipped a special coin produced by the WBC — with a likeness of Muhammad Ali on the heads side and a Fox Sports logo on the tails side — and Jermall called heads.

It came up heads, and the competitive Jermall pumped his fist and exclaimed, “Heads it is! Got it!”

So Jermall’s first interim middleweight title defense against former two-time world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. will serve as the main event and junior middleweight world titlist Jermell’s fourth defense, which will come against Tony Harrison, who is getting his second shot at a 154-pound belt, will serve as the co-feature.

The tripleheader will open with a scheduled 10-round fight between heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale and Carlos Negron.

“I’m very excited and the fire is lit to be back in Brooklyn,” said Jermall, who will be fighting at Barclays Center for the third consecutive fight. “It’s great to be headlining a big show with my twin brother in Brooklyn. It’s going to be an exciting night of boxing. Willie Monroe is one of those fighters that will get me to the level I need to for all those great fights. And believe me, we’ll get them.

“This is a fight that he’s been asking for and it makes it special to know he’s keying in on me. Everybody knows what I come for. I’m going to knock him out. I’m going to be as explosive as I can and close the show. The journey begins now in Brooklyn.”

Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), who defended his junior middleweight title three times, moved up to middleweight in mid-2017 and in his second fight in the division demolished Hugo Centeno Jr. in the second round in April to claim a vacant interim middleweight title.

Monroe (23-3, 6 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw from Rochester, New York, got knocked out in the sixth round of a one-sided title shot against Gennady Golovkin in 2015 and then lost a unanimous decision challenging Billy Joe Saunders for a title in September 2017. Since then, Monroe has won two fights in a row, including a shutout eight-round decision over Carlos Galvan at Barclays Center in March.

“I’ve been in this position before, and it won’t faze me on Dec. 22,” Monroe said. “This is my third shot at a title. I’m the third Willie Monroe from my family in the line, and having already fought twice for the title, I know that the third time is going to be the charm. There’s a job to be done, and nothing about it will be easy.

“Jermall Charlo is right up there with my past opponents Gennady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders, so it’s another tough outing. But it’s definitely a challenge that I’m up for and a challenge that I think I can conquer.”

Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs), who will be fighting at Barclays Center for the third time in four fights, last boxed there last October and scored a sensational first-round knockout of Erickson Lubin. Charlo followed with a majority decision win over former titlist (and former Jermall victim) Austin Trout on June 9.

“This is a super fight for me, bigger than any fight, because I get to be on a big show with my brother and we get to showcase our talents together,” Jermell Charlo said. “On Dec. 22, there’s nothing on after us. After we fight, the fans go home and we’ll have put on a great show.

“I’m working with my trainer, Derrick James, and we’re getting ready to be built up and not just for Tony Harrison. We’re trying to unify. We’re coming for everybody in the division. I’m super stoked to be with my brother and opening this first show on the new deal between PBC and Fox.”

Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs), 28, of Detroit, has suffered ninth-round knockout losses in both of his defeats. Willie Nelson got him in a non-title fight in 2015 and Jarrett Hurd stopped him in their vacant world title fight in 2017. Harrison has won three fights in a row since to get himself back into title contention.

“Based on my last performance against Ishe Smith, I feel like I’ve earned this opportunity,” Harrison said of his 10-round split decision victory over the former world titleholder in May. “Jermell Charlo is a terrific fighter. I like his attitude toward the sport and his skills in the ring, and I expect to face him at his best. But that just gets my competitive juices flowing.

“It’s going to be skill-for-skill, and there will be a lot of back-and-forth rounds from round one on. It’s going come down to who is best at sticking to their game plan. It’s hard to get opportunities in this division so I’m going to go in there and leave it in the ring and make it an exciting fight.”

Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs), 33, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Eastvale, California, will be coming off a 13-month layoff since he knocked out former world title challenger Eric Molina in the eighth round at Barclays Center. Breazeale will risk his position as the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Dec. 1 fight between titleholder Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury.

“I’m excited to show the fans that I’m here to stay,” Breazeale said. “Carlos Negron is a big guy and a fellow Olympian. I want to show that I don’t have any ring rust. I’ve been out of the ring, but I’ve lived in the gym and I can box, press the pedal to the metal and get the knockout when the opportunity arises.”

Breazeale’s only loss came by seventh-round knockout when he challenged Anthony Joshua for a world title in June 2016. Breazeale has won two fights in a row since.

Negron (20-1, 16 KOs), 30, who was a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, has been relatively inactive but has won seven fights in a row since a major upset third-round knockout loss to journeyman Epifanio Mendoza in 2011.

“Anyone who knows this sport knows how hard a task it is and I’m working hard every day to win this fight,” Negron said. “When I was offered Breazeale I said yes right away. I want to be the first born-and-raised Puerto Rican heavyweight champion, and on Dec. 22 I will fight with honor, heart and pride. I’m going to announce a new heavyweight in the mix.”

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