Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr once again finds himself involved in a fight whose status is directly impacted by Don King.
Plans remain in place for the former secondary titlist to return to the ring on May 15 in Hamburg, Germany, though chances remain slim for a planned showdown with unbeaten fringe contender Christopher Lovejoy.
The previously announced bout was met with the threat of legal action by King, the Hall of Fame promoter who still claims ties to Las Vegas’ Lovejoy along with allegations of the fight being made without his knowledge or consent.
Charr and his team have learned from past mistakes, with a contingency plan in place and the promise of at least two other opponents currently on standby should the need arise.
“[W]e are still confident that Charr and Lovejoy will meet in the ring on May 15 and are willing to settle the situation with [Don King Productions],” Erol Ceylan, Charr’s promoter stated on Thursday. “However, we are prepared to give a different opponent the chance to take on our guy if necessary.”
Charr (31-4, 17KOs) has not fought since winning a secondary version of the WBA heavyweight title following a 12-round decision win over Alexander Ustinov in Nov. 2017. A drug testing snafu, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and legal issues have all left the Syrian heavyweight miserably inactive and with several fights falling through during that stretch.
The most recent casualty came in an announced title consolidation clash with Trevor Bryan. Charr was removed from the Jan. 29 show in Hollywood, Florida over an inability to secure a travel visa in time, though the process leading to that point remains an active legal dispute between Charr’s side and Don King Productions (DKP). The WBA stripped Charr of his title, downgrading him to “Champion in Recess” while allowing Bryan to fight for the vacant title, which he claimed in an 11th round knockout of Bermane Stiverne on the aforementioned Jan. 29 show.
“We are not quite sure what Don King‘s intentions are at this stage,” wonders Ceylan. “Instead of making fights happen, he tries to sabotage them. First, he‘s getting Charr stripped of his WBA belt and now this.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox