Born on May 19, 1990 in Lafayette, Louisiana, Jermall Charlo comes from a boxing family. His father was a boxer, and his twin brother, Jermell is also a professional boxer. Both brothers began boxing when they went to the gym with their father at 9-years-old, and Jermell turned pro in 2007. Jermall Charlo waited another year, as he wanted to earn a place on the 2008 USA Olympic Boxing team, but a toe injury kept him from competing for a spot. He finished his amateur career with a record of 65-6, and then made his professional debut in 2008.
For his first fight on August 12, 2008, Charlo fought Cimmaron Davis and scored a second-round TKO. He won his first four fights convincingly, with two TKOs and two unanimous decisions, and then went up against Deon Nash, a fighter his brother had beaten already. He won a unanimous decision, then defeated Carlos Garcia by unanimous decision in his next fight. After that, he took on Nash in a rematch, and beat him even more decisively this time around, as Nash’s corner stopped the contest after just two rounds.
That kicked off a string of finishes, as he won every fight for the next four years by either TKO, KO or a corner retirement. While many of those victories were over journeyman fighters, he also defeated several notable fighters, including Orlando Lora, Antwone Smith and Norberto Gonzalez, establishing himself as a strong prospect in the junior middleweight division. He faced off against another highly touted fighter on March 28, 2015 when he fought Michael Kenneth Finney, who had a strong amateur career. Finney was the first fighter to take him to a decision since Carlos Garcia, but Charlo still took the fight fairly easily by unanimous decision.
With that victory, he earned a shot at the IBF junior middleweight title. His opponent, Cornelius Bundrage, was a solid fighter and the current champion, but he was no match for a faster, more powerful and younger opponent. He knocked Bundrage down four times, once each in the first two rounds and twice in round three, with the final knockdown resulting in a KO. Charlo defended his title for the first time on November 28, 2015, against another game opponent in the 21-1 Wilky Campfort. Again, he made the veteran look like an amateur, dropping Campfort with a counter in round two and then forcing Campfort to a knee in round three. He then landed a beautiful uppercut towards the end of the round that put Campfort on his knee again, and because Campfort couldn’t see, the referee stopped the fight.
Jermell Charlo defended his title twice in 2016, once against Austin Trout in a close unanimous decision win, and then at the end of the year with a fifth-round TKO of Julian Williams. His brother Jermell won the WBC light middleweight title that same year. On February 16, 2017, Charlo chose to vacate his IBF junior middleweight title due to the difficult weight cut and a lack of challengers, deciding to move up to middleweight.