By Keith Idec
Fres Oquendo’s overdue WBA world heavyweight title shot has been delayed yet again.
According to an ESPN.com report Wednesday night, the inactive, 45-year-old contender turned down a fight for what will be a vacant version of the WBA’s heavyweight title. Oquendo reportedly was offered $500,000 to fight unbeaten Jarrell Miller on November 17 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but he declined that bout because Oquendo doesn’t think there’s enough time to properly implement Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing for performance-enhancing drugs.
ESPN.com also reported Miller now likely will box Bogdan Dinu at Boardwalk Hall three weeks from Saturday night. Romania’s Dinu has accepted promoter Eddie Hearn’s offer to meet Miller, whose approval was needed as of Wednesday night to finalize the deal.
The 30-year-old Miller (22-0-1, 19 KOs) is less than three weeks removed from knocking out 41-year-old former contender Tomasz Adamek (53-6, 31 KOs) in the second round of their scheduled 12-rounder October 6 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The 32-year-old Dinu (18-0, 14 KOs) is scheduled to battle England’s Tom Little (10-6, 3 KOs) in a 10-rounder Saturday night in Sofia, Bulgaria, but assuming Miller agrees to terms, Dinu won’t proceed with that bout.
Hearn hopes to announce the bout between Miller, who’s ranked No. 2 by the WBA, and the ninth-ranked Dinu at a press conference scheduled for Saturday afternoon in New York to promote the November 17 card in Atlantic City.
Oquendo understandably wants VADA testing for what would be his first fight since losing a 12-round majority decision to Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs) in their WBA title fight in July 2014 in Grozny, Russia. The WBA is legally obligated to afford Oquendo another title shot because he successfully sued the WBA to enforce a rematch clause in his contract for his loss to Chagaev, who has since retired.
The WBA’s first two attempts to meet its obligation to Oquendo were scrapped because his proposed opponents, Shannon Briggs and later Manuel Charr, failed PED tests.
Chicago’s Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) was supposed to challenge Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) for the WBA world heavyweight title September 29 in Cologne, Germany.
That fight was canceled on short notice because Charr tested positive for two anabolic steroids, drostanolone and trenbolone. The WBA is expected to strip him of a championship Charr won last November 25, when he defeated Russia’s Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision in Oberhausen, Germany.
The Charr cancelation marked the second time in 16 months Oquendo’s overdue title shot was postponed due to a PED ordeal. He was supposed to box Brooklyn’s Shannon Briggs for that title in June 2017, but that bout was canceled on short notice once VADA determined Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs, 1 NC) had dramatically elevated levels of testosterone in his system.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.