Manuel Charr fails drug test
On September 29th, WBA World Heavyweight Champion Manuel Charr defends his title against mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo at 16,000 seat LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany. In the lead-up to the fight, “The Diamond Boy” hosted a media workout and looked to be in great shape.
“I feel very strong”, says Charr. “I fought Ustinov only five months after hip replacement surgery. Now I am completely used to my new hips and I puch a lot harder than I used to. All my life I fought without really using hip rotation. I feel like a new fighter.”
Charr’s strength and conditioning coach Chris Mohr confirmed that the 33-year-old heavyweight champion has more stamina and power than ever. “I have never seen him as strong, fast and focused”, says Mohr. “We had a long time to get ready and you can tell that when you see him.”
While Charr knows that he cannot underestimate Oquendo despite the fact that the Puerto Rican has not fought in four years. “Fres is very experienced and has always been a very slick fighter”, says Charr. “Lots of people avoided him during his career because of his style. On the other hand, he is an old man and my home crowd in Cologne will push me above my limit. So I promise that I will knock him out and then have a great party with my fans.”
It was Charr’s Manager Christian Jaeger and his promoter Bernd Trendelkamp who made sure that the fight ended up in Cologne. “I promised Manuel that we will give him the chance to fight at home. It took us a while but here we are”, states Jaeger. “Negotiations were long and not always easy but I want to thank Fres Oquendo and his team for accepting the challenge and coming to Germany.”
If “Diamond Boy” Charr can keep his word and beat Oquendo, he knows exactly what his next steps should look like. “Bring on Anthony Joshua!”, says Charr. “He calls himself WBA Super Champion. I think it’s time to prove how Super he really is. I am the World Champion and I think we all agree that there should be only one Champion. So, AJ, if you beat Povektin and I beat Oquendo, we should find out who is the real WBA Champ.”
But does Charr really believe that he has a chance against Joshua? “Of course”, he says. “Wait until you see me in the ring and you will know that I can beat anybody now. After taking care of Joshua, I will go on to fight the winner of Fury vs. Wilder – and then retire as undisputed heavyweight champion of the World!”
The WBA Heavyweight Championship between Charr and Oquendo will take place at LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany, and will be broadcasted live on Sky Pay-Per-View in Germany. Tickets starting at 45 Euros are available on koelnticket.de and eventim.de. For more information see charr-oquendo.com.
On November 25, 2017 Manuel Charr beat Russia’s Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany, to claim the vacant WBA World Heavyweight Championship. For his first title defense, “Diamond Boy” Charr will most probably come to the United States to face mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo. With 600,000 US-Dollars, Oquendo’s team won the purse bid held in Toronto, Canada, today. The fight will most probably take place in Chicago on May 4th.
“Of course, we would have loved to stage the fight in Germany but we are also happy to travel to Chicago”, said Charr’s promoter Bernd Trendelkamp. “We could have placed a bid of one million, two million or even ten million Dollars. But to be honest, we had not expected anybody from team Oquendo to show up at the purse bid. The WBA had decided that there was no minimum for the bids so we thought we can get the fight cheap. We always knew that there was a risk we would lose the bid but we had planned to bring Manuel to the States anyways. Now we don’t have to pay for it and promote ourselves so we are very happy with the outcome.”
The Champion has also accepted the outcome of the purse bid. “It is always better to fight in front of your home fans but Chicago is a beautiful city and I have many fans in the United States so I am looking forward to the fight”, said Manuel Charr. “I know and respect Fres. If I have to beat him in front of his home crowd, then so be it. I hope that many fans will come to support me. It will be a great experience and hopefully an exciting fight.”
44-year-old veteran Oquendo has not fought since losing to Ruslan Chagaev in a World Championship bout in July 2014 in Grozny, Russia. The rematch which he was entitled to never happened because first Oquendo got injured and then Chagaev retired. If the fight doesn’t land in Chicago, Oquendo’s team may also bring it to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Fres was born.
“We will wait for the contracts and then see what happens”, says Charr’s manager Christian Jaeger. “Manuel is a World Champion so he must be ready to fight anywhere in the world. I think that this fight is a big chance for him to show the people in the United States what he is made of.”