By Keith Idec
The WBA has informed Manuel Charr that it has voted to suspend him for six months for failing performance-enhancing drug tests in September.
However, Pat English, Charr’s attorney, told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that the WBA indicated during a conference call Wednesday morning that it will not strip Charr of its world heavyweight title. Assuming Charr keeps that championship, the WBA won’t be able to sanction Jarrell Miller-Bogdan Dinu as a fight for that title Saturday night in Mulvane, Kansas (DAZN).
Germany’s Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) was supposed to make a mandated defense of his title against Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) on September 29 in Cologne, Germany. That fight was at least postponed because Charr tested positive for two anabolic steroids, drostanolone and trenbolone.
An undisclosed issue related to the testing process has prevented the WBA from stripping Charr. He is one of three heavyweight champions crowned by the WBA, which also recognizes “super” champion Anthony Joshua and interim champion Trevor Bryan.
Promoter Eddie Hearn tried to arrange a Miller-Oquendo fight for Saturday night.
Hearn negotiated under the assumption Charr would be stripped when he offered Oquendo $500,000 to box Brooklyn’s Miller (22-0-1, 19 KOs). Oquendo turned down that offer.
Once it became evident Charr could keep his title, handlers for Charr and Oquendo instead agreed to try to reschedule their fight for an undetermined date in January. A six-month suspension would delay Charr-Oquendo again.
Chicago’s Oquendo already has endured a four-year layoff since losing a majority decision to since-retired Ruslan Chagaev.
The 45-year-old Oquendo legally enforced the rematch clause he had in his contract for his shot at Chagaev’s title, thus the WBA must grant him another shot at its world heavyweight championship. The WBA eventually stripped Uzbekistan’s Chagaev (34-3-1, 21 KOs), which led to the WBA scheduling title fights for Oquendo against Shannon Briggs and later Charr.
The Oquendo-Briggs bout, scheduled for June 2017, was canceled on short notice because the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association found Briggs (60-6-1, 53 KOs, 1 NC) had dramatically elevated levels of testosterone in his system.
Charr captured the then-vacant championship when he defeated Russia’s Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder last November 25 in Oberhausen, Germany. The WBA ordered Charr to fight Oquendo two days later, yet that fight still hasn’t happened.
That championship became vacant because Chagaev, who has since retired, refused to pay the WBA’s sanctioning fee. Australia’s Lucas Browne beat Chagaev by 10th-round knockout to win the title Charr now owns, but it was returned to Chagaev because Browne (26-1, 23 KOs) failed a performance-enhancing drug test.
Once the WBA stripped Chagaev, Browne was supposed to battle Briggs for the vacant championship in December 2016. Browne tested positive for a PED again, though, and their fight was canceled.
The WBA then ordered the ill-fated fight between Briggs and Oquendo.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.