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.”