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Former champion boxer Jermell Charlo acquitted of assaulting woman

Jermell Charlo v Mario Lozano
Jermell Charlo, left, trades punches with Mario Lozano on Dec. 13, 2014 in Las Vegas.
(Ed Mulholland / Getty Images)

Former junior-middleweight boxing champion Jermell Charlo was acquitted Wednesday of assaulting a woman at his Dallas condominium complex in May.

Houston’s Charlo (31-1, 15 knockouts) faced felony domestic assault and misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly choking and striking the woman on May 16, 2018. The woman testified at the trial, Charlo’s attorney, Arnold Joseph, said.

The boxer rejected a plea deal despite facing a three-to-10 year sentence if convicted, and upon the reading of the verdicts Wednesday in Dallas, “it was like a 200-pound weight had been lifted off of his head … it was the difference of day and night between the time the verdict was being read and the moment he was cleared,” Joseph said.

“I can’t express how happy and relieved I am to be acquitted of these very serious charges,” said Charlo “I was accused of choking and striking a woman, which is a horrible crime that I didn’t commit. I am grateful to my legal defense team, especially my lawyer Mike Howard, for the wonderful job they did for me.

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“This case, and the fear of losing my freedom and livelihood, has hung over me like a dark cloud for almost a year. I couldn’t really focus on my training and I couldn’t leave the United States to pursue various business opportunities. I couldn’t even register as a trainer. I was offered a plea deal that I could not in good conscious accept because I wasn’t guilty. I’m happy that the jury did its job and I want to thank them for that. I also want to let the world know that Iron Man is back!”

Charlo, 28, fought twice as the criminal case hovered. In June, he successfully defended his World Boxing Council 154-pound belt for the third time by defeating former champion Austin Trout by majority decision at Staples Center.

He knocked down Trout twice in that bout, but in a Dec. 22 return against veteran Tony Harrison at Barclays Center, Charlo suffered a unanimous-decision loss on scorecards of 115-113 twice and 116-112.

“Who amongst us could keep focused with something like that on our mind?” Joseph asked. “He won’t say the loss was a result of that [legal burden], but he could’ve trained longer and better if he wasn’t preparing for trial.

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“He stood firm, rejecting the plea deal because he couldn’t agree morally to accept blame for assaulting a woman when he knew he didn’t.”

Charlo, whose twin brother, Jermall, is an unbeaten middleweight, is planning a return fight in the early summer against Harrison.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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