Boxing Politics: Whyte, Chisora, Miller or Fres Oquendo? Who is next for Manuel Charr, the other WBA
Back in the Nineties boxing fans that were old enough to still remember, used to complain that three world heavyweight champions were too many and longed for the golden age of Ali, Frazier and the young George Foreman, when for the most part, there was just one recognised world champion. Occasionally the WBA and WBC titles would get divided among different fighters, such as when Muhammad Ali was stripped of the WBA title shortly after the news that Ali had joined the controversial Nation of Islam. But when a title was splintered it was always clear still who the real champion of the world was, as opposed to who was just a belt holder.
Today, this old statuesque is reversed; divided titles are the norm and undisputed champions are a rarity. So much so, that at heavyweight the last undisputed heavyweight title fight was Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield way back in the year 2000, and even that that didn’t include the then disregarded WBO title. Fast forwarding to today and the title picture has only got even more fractured. By 2006, the WBO had joined the WBA, WBC, IBF as a legitimate sanctioning body, giving us a total of four instead of three championships. Then, making the sport almost impossible for casual fans to follow, the WBA began the preposterous practice of recognising two or more WBA champions in each weight division. At one time the WBA recognised three world heavyweight champions; calling these WBA belt holders: "Super", "Regular" and "Interim" champions.
Thankfully, following calls on the internet for the WBA to be disregarded as a legitimate sanctioning body, the oldest of the boxing world organisations has seen sense and began a slow process of unifying its titles. As things stand now, the WBA currently only recognises two heavyweight champions; "Super" champion Anthony Joshua (who also holds the IBF and WBO belts) and the less known "Regular" champion, Manuel Charr. Who is Manuel Charr and who will he be fighting next? Based in Germany, Manuel Charr, 33, won the "Regular" WBA title in November of last year (2017). Despite the watered-down nature of the vacant title belt he won via UD against Russian, Alexander Ustinov, it was still an impressive comeback following an incident outside a German fast-food restaurant, which saw the first Arab heavyweight champion getting shot four times in the stomach, back in 2015. Charr is currently scheduled to defend his title against the Puerto Rican fighter, Fres Oquendo, but at 45-years of age and a three-year long absence from the ring, not to mention coming off a loss; we must ask if Fres Oquendo is really ever going to fight again if he can get paid big money to step aside by Eddie Hearn and the sports streaming platform, DAZN?
Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing is associated with three fighters that have all showed interest in fighting for Charr's WBA title next, seeing the strap as a stepping stone to an eventual WBA "Super" verses "Regular" championship showdown with the stadium filling superstar, Anthony Joshua. The New York based 2007 Golden Gloves finalist and former kickboxer, Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller, was one of Eddie Hearn's big catches when he announced his Matchroom USA staple that will be headlining shows on DAZN in America in September.
Miller has talked about fighting for the WBA title in recent YouTube interviews, however, following his confrontation with Joshua at the DAZN USA launch press conference, the 30-year-old may prefer not to take any risks and possibly fight Joshua immediately in April next year (2019), should WBC champion Deontay Wilder (rumoured to be fighting Tyson Fury in December) choose not to take the scheduled fight with Joshua at Wembley Stadium. Another fighter that is currently being touted as Charr's first title defence is Derek "Del Boy" Chisora. Following his epic KO victory in a fight of a year performance against Carlos Takam, his long-time rival, Tyson Fury called on YouTube for the "Del Boy" to fight Charr and finally add a world title to his British, Commonwealth and European title list of past accolades, before Chisora, 34, retires.
However, shortly later, in an interview for IFL TV, Chisora, after suggesting he wanted to fight Charr next, admitted the fight he really wanted next was Dillian Whyte: "The fight I want is Dillian Whyte … I'm lying to myself", he told IFL TV. Instead of Whyte, bizarrely, Eddie Hearn has been attempting to make a fight between Chisora and KO artist and WBC heavyweight king, Deontay Wilder. Styles make fights, and that confrontation would likely end very badly for Chisora, and be reminiscent to the Joe Frazier-George Foreman 1973 fight, in which Frazier was stopped in round two, after being knocked down repeatedly by the more powerful Foreman. That leaves us with Dillian "The Body Snatcher" Whyte.
After winning a points victory over New Zealand's Joseph Parker, the WBC Silver champion (Whyte) said he wanted one more fight before an eventual rematch with Anthony Joshua. With Wilder rumoured to be attending Tyson Fury's next comeback fight with Francesco Pianeta on August 18 (2018), it seems highly likely that the "Bronze Bomber" will opt to fight Tyson Fury next instead of Whyte. While Whyte, 30, might choose a rematch with Chisora, this fight would be a lot bigger on the international stage, if it was for a 'world' title, with the winner possibly promised a super fight with Joshua to unify the WBA title and other belts.