Mahmoud Charr and Lucas Browne await further instructions as their planned heavyweight clash is on hold.
A previously scheduled show featuring Charr-Browne atop the bill was canceled by The Middle East Professional Boxing (MEPB) commission. All involved parties were informed that the card—which was due to take place this Saturday at Motospace Dubai Investment Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates—will no longer moving forward due to listed event promoter Iconic Promotions Dubai failing to comply with basic standards.
“We MEPB have decided to withdraw the sanction provided for the Dec. 17, 2022 event in Dubai, UAE,” the commission noted to all participants on the show via an official email, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “The way the promoter handled the event have damaged the good will of the sport and multiple complaints have been received. There is no proper venue secured nor government permits provided till date.”
As previously reported by BoxingScene’s Per Ake Persson, elements of the undercard will be repurposed. One such bout involves unbeaten Ukrainian heavyweight Viktor Vykhryst (b/k/a Victor Faust), whose clash with Indianapolis’ Franklin Lawrence (21-3-2, 16KOs) will now take place on an already existing show on Saturday in Goeppingen, Germany.
Efforts are ongoing to reschedule Charr-Browne, with hopes of getting the fight on the books before year’s end.
Charr (33-4, 19KOs) was eager to headline in his adopted Dubai hometown. The Syria-born former secondary WBA heavyweight titlist has won five in a row, all in Germany where he was previously based before relocating to the Middle East where the 38-year-old views himself as ‘The Arab King.’
In his most recent bout, Charr scored a third-round stoppage of Nikola Milacic on May 28 in Hamburg, Germany. The bout came 54 wees after his prior outing, when Charr stopped previously unbeaten cult favorite Christopher Lovejoy inside of two rounds last May in Cologne, Germany.
Australia’s Browne (31-3, 27KOs) stopped his last two opponents, including a career-resurrecting first-round knockout of Junior Fa on June 5 in Melbourne, Australia. The ESPN-televised win provided newfound hope for the 43-year-old from Perth, who was considered an afterthought following early knockout defeats to Dave Allen and Paul Gallen bookending the pandemic.
The pair of middle-aged boxers viewed the other as means to earn a meaningful win en route to at least one more shot at a top-ranked heavyweight. Unfortunately, they put their trust in a fledgling promoter who couldn’t make good on its bold promises.
Little is known about Iconic Promotions Dubai, whose team has apparently gone to ground. Multiple participants involved in the now canceled show have been unsuccessful in getting a hold of anyone from the company. Apparently, such was the case with the MEBP who confronted the problem head-on in refusing to allow the event to move forward. It was also made clear under no uncertain terms that the company is forbidden from doing business ever again in the region.
“At this point, there is not even a promoter in charge and it would be impossible to go ahead with the event and comply with the safety and medical standards to run a safe event,” noted a commission representative. “We are hereby officially informing that MEPB won’t be sanctioning the show or working with the promoter here after.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox