Jermall Charlo will defend his WBC middleweight title against challenger Maciej Sulecki in his first fight of 2022. The American boasts a dominant record in the sport, winning all 32 of his bouts to date. Charlo has successfully defended his crown on five occasions, including a fine performance to defeat Juan Macias Montiel in his last outing.
Sulecki has a strong record but will need to up the ante against American opponents as he lost his major fight against Demetrius Andrade for the WBO middleweight title in 2019. Charlo is the overwhelming favorite in the boxing betting odds at 4/5 to win the fight, but he will need to guard against complacency as the Pole is more than capable of springing a surprise due to his experience and solid record, albeit not against opponents of Charlo’s character.
Naturally, this fight is getting overshadowed by the Gypsy King's latest title defence. He is the clear favorite in the Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte odds at 1/6, although Whyte should provide a tough challenge. Charlo's decision to fight Sulecki certainly hasn't helped as it's likely to be a predictable result and there are suggestions he could have opted to fight David Benavidez for the WBC super-middleweight title, which would have been a much more closely-contested fight. Benavidez has suggested that his compatriot turned down the opportunity, but Charlo has insisted that a bout against him was not an option. Both men recently clashed in the crowd during a fight between Errol Spence Jr and Yordenis Ugas, which highlights the tension between the two boxers.
A bout between the two Americans should certainly be on the agenda in the future, with the winner perhaps lining a star-studded showdown against Canelo Alvarez Jr. The danger for Charlo will be to overlook Sulecki as other leading boxers have found in the past. The 31-year-old must be on his mettle with a sound technique amid the experience of the Pole.
Charlo was not tested by Montiel in his last outing, even though he was taken all the way. The American pounded away with a series of blows against his opponent, but the resistance of Montiel ensured that the contest would be decided by the judges.
It was clear that there was only one winner with scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-109, but it was a lesson that Charlo may need to develop a clinical edge before he takes on Benavidez. The potential sway of his compatriot may highlight his own desire to refine areas of his game before he commits to future challenges against opponents of a greater calibre.
Charlo has come up against solid competitors such as his win over Brandon Adams, which was impressive not only in the manner of his unanimous points victory but also in the fact that he was dealing with a hand injury sustained in the bout. Therefore, he should have no fear about taking the step up to challenge Alvarez in the future.
We should expect a similar fight to the Montiel bout when Charlo takes on Sulecki. The Pole will be a tough man to break down, and it will require a patient approach from Charlo in order to defend his title. The 31-year-old has only had one knockout in his last five bouts, which may be on his mind. Look for him to be assertive in an attempt to build momentum for his future endeavors to send out a statement to Benavidez and Alvarez.