WBA’s ill-fated heavyweight tournament no closer to crowning one sole champion two years on

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has revealed details of the current WBA mandatory situation which could suggest the ill-fated WBA Heavyweight Tournament to eventually crown one champion is either on hold or been scrapped.

It was thought that once Manuel Charr picked up the vacant ‘regular’ WBA title against Alexander Ustinov and faced an immediate defense against Fres Oquendo, that the Lebanese-German would then be put forward to battle Joshua.

All this was part of an arranged round robin of bouts to determine one sole belt holder in the top division.

It all began in 2015 before Wladimir Klitschko squared off against Tyson Fury and also featured Lucas Browne, Ruslan Chagaev, Fres Oquendo, Alexander Ustinov, Luis Ortiz.

Browne beat Chagaev but was subsequently stripped of the title before the Uzbek then decided to retire rather than face Oquendo himself. 

Fury was then involved in a case for his title being taken away, whilst Ortiz, after Ustinov delayed, was also relieved of his position as the interim champion before going on to earn and lose the number one spot without a fight.

That left the injured Oquendo waiting for his shot, potentially against Ustinov, to eventually take on the new ruler Anthony Joshua.

The WBA then sanctioned Ustinov v Charr with the victor to battle Oquendo, and it was initially thought Joshua by the end of 2018.

Not so, according to Hearn, who says the WBA are not currently pushing Charr (or Oquendo) as the mandatory at the moment.

“I’m due to speak to (WBA President) Gilberto Mendoza, who may come to the UK in December,” Hearn told Sky Sports this week.

“Luis Ortiz was the mandatory but has been banned so there will be a new one.

“Manuel Charr has won the ‘regular’ title but they are not looking at him as a mandatory challenger,” he stated.

Should the WBA decide to sanction yet another mandatory bout, the winner of Charr v Oquendo and whoever comes out on top in that match-up will both then be in the frame at the top of the ratings leaving the WBA’s consequent efforts over the past three years all for nothing.

Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay