By Keith Idec
The WBA announced Thursday that a purse bid has been scheduled for its heavyweight championship bout between title-holder Manuel Charr and mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo.
The bidding will take place Friday in Toronto, Canada. According to a press release issued by the WBA, Charr and Oquendo will receive 50 percent apiece of the winning purse bid.
Charr will make his first defense of the WBA world heavyweight title against Oquendo. Germany’s Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) won the then-vacant championship when he defeated Russia’s Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder November 25 in Oberhausen, Germany.
England’s Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) is the WBA’s “super” heavyweight champion, its true champion in that division. Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (33-1, 23 KOs), a former WBA champ, is ranked No. 1 by the WBA and is the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s title.
The WBA ordered Charr-Oquendo on November 27.
The 44-year-old Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) is ranked No. 2 by the WBA, even though the Chicago native hasn’t fought since he lost a 12-round majority decision to Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs) in their July 2014 title fight in Grozny, Russia.
Oquendo is still in position to fight for a version of the WBA’s heavyweight title because he successfully sued Chagaev to get the rematch he was owed according to their contracts.
Chagaev later lost that title to Australia’s Lucas Browne (25-0, 22 KOs), who knocked out Chagaev in the 10th round of their March 2016 battle in Grozny. The WBA later stripped Browne because he failed a PED test.
The WBA title was then returned to Chagaev, but the WBA eventually stripped him as well when he failed to pay a sanctioning fee. Browne was supposed to face Shannon Briggs for the vacant championship in December 2016, but Browne tested positive for a PED again and their fight was canceled.
Briggs was then scheduled to oppose Oquendo for the title on June 3 in Hollywood, Florida. The Oquendo-Briggs bout also was canceled less than two weeks before it was supposed take place because Briggs failed a PED test.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.