The ongoing saga in the ordered fight between Mahmoud Charr and Trevor Bryan has yet another plot twist.
Don King, Bryan’s promoter is planning to move forward with Friday’s show in South Florida, although with amendments to the intended headlining act. The Hall of Fame promoter has petitioned the World Boxing Association (WBA) in a Request for Special Permission/Permit/Exception to allow for a secondary WBA heavyweight title fight between Bryan and former WBC beltholder Bermane Stiverne.
In the official petition—a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com—King call for the WBA to sanction “the bout between Bryan and Bermane Stiverne for the WBA World Heavyweight championship, while placing Mahmoud Charr as Champion in Recess for his unavailability or in the alternative removing his designation as World champion.”
The request was signed by King and Bryan and submitted to the WBA on Jan. 24th, just as Charr was able to secure a travel visa to make the trip from Cologne, Germany. Charr and his team informed BoxingScene.com that travel has been arranged for Charr (31-4, 17KOs) to arrive in Hollywood, Florida on Tuesday, in time for his scheduled title defense versus Bryan this Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Charr holds the WBA “World” heavyweight title, while Bryan (20-0, 14KOs) is the recognized interim WBA titlist. Both are secondary to the WBA “Super” heavyweight crown held by unified titlist Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22KOs).
King won promotional rights to Charr vs. Bryan by virtue of submitting an offer of $2,000,000 during a purse bid hearing held last March. The bout was targeted for last May, only for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to delay such plans. Additional stall tactics by King forced the WBA to impose a deadline for the bout to take place no later than Jan. 29th.
The press office for Don King Productions formally announced plans for the fight to take place on that date. However, casino executives at Hard Rock confirmed on multiple occasions to BoxingScene.com that the location’s Hard Rock Live venue is not presently booked for the card or any other event to take place this Friday.
Charr has not fought since winning his version of the WBA title in a 12-round win over Alexander Ustinov in Nov. 2017.
Bryan—who hails from Schenectady, New York—has been out of the ring since a 4th round knockout of BJ Flores to win the interim title in Aug. 2018.
Stiverne (25-4-1, 21KOs) is the most active of the lot, though without a win since Nov. 2015. The Haiti-born heavyweight was last seen in a one-sided 6th round knockout loss to Joe Joyce last February.
The WBA is expected to make a ruling on all of this mess, although anything short of permitting Charr to defend his title will undoubtedly result in a series of lawsuits.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox