Boxing’s longest-running heavyweight title saga could be over this month

Trevor Bryan Manuel Charr WBA heavyweight title

Esther Lin / Team Charr

A heavyweight title defense almost five years in the making could happen in the next few weeks, World Boxing News understands.

For some weeks, talks have been ongoing between Don King and Diamond Boy Promotions to stage a WBA ‘regular’ championship battle.

Current belt holder Mahmoud Charr, the holder since 2017, is finally on course to put his belt up for grabs.

After months of uncertainty, the Lebanese-born German’s opponent will be number one contender Trevor Bryan came to a head.

As WBN has reported on many occasions in the past, the WBA ‘regular’ title is a laughable matter.

Ruslan Chagaev’s controversial victory over Fres Oquendo in Grozny, Russia, was the catalyst that sparked a chain reaction lasting to this very day.

Oquendo won a legal challenge for a rematch against Chagaev despite the Uzkebi going on to defend and lose his strap to Lucas Browne.

Browne lost his position for a positive drug test. Eventually, the WBA overturned it on appeal.

Charr took the vacant title some twenty months later in November 2017. But he is yet to fight since then.

The last actual defense of the WBA ‘regular’ title on record is Chagaev vs. Browne in March of 2016.

A quite astonishing fact.

Now, as we approach 58 months since that event, Charr vs. Bryan is on the verge of being ratified. The only thing halting proceedings is a visa application from the champion.

WBA

WBA STATEMENT

The WBA recently outlined the situation as it stands. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida is on alert to stage the bout.

“The heavyweight title fight between Champion Mahmoud Charr and the mandatory challenger Trevor Bryan will have to be held by January 29th, 2021.

“That’s according to a statement issued by the World Boxing Association (WBA) Championships Committee. Carlos Chávez signed it,” confirmed the WBA.

“The pioneer organization requested Don King Promotions to send the contracts signed by both boxers. Date and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.

“The bidding for this mandatory fight took place last March 2nd in Panama City. Per the organization’s rules, specifically, rule D.11: Purse Offer Contracts, The Promoter winning the Purse Bid shall have all bout contracts adequately signed. To be delivered to the Championships Committee Chairman no later than twenty (20) days from the winning bid date.

“However, in this case, the pause in boxing due to the pandemic prevented the procedure. It was on hold.

“Most countries have opened their borders. Boxing is taking place around the world in a considerable volume. It is a good time to resume the process.


HEAVYWEIGHT STATUS

“Should any or both fighters (Charr – Bryan) fail to sign the contract, he or they will lose their position. Either as champion or/and mandatory challenger.

“The communication sent to all parties via email also highlights that the bout shall happen under WBA rules, with the respective official appointments.

“It also states that the laboratories to be used for anti-doping tests should be certified by VADA/WADA to be accepted.

“The WBA is waiting for a response from Don King Promotions. The WBA wishes that the fight happens following the bidding.”

Whether the clash happens on the date in question should be known by this weekend. We continue to wait for a formal resolution.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.