The ever confusing WBA Heavyweight title scene takes another turn at Box Gym in Cologne, Germany this Saturday night, when Mahmoud Charr removes himself from recess to take on America’s Christopher Lovejoy over a scheduled twelve rounds.
The drama could well unfold before the bell potentially rings, with promoter Don King threatening legal action against Lovejoy (19-0, 19 KOs) in the weeks leading up to his proposed clash with Charr.
King sent a cease & desist letter to Lovejoy, claiming the 37-year-old is under an exclusive contractual agreement with King, and is not permitted to enter future fights without King’s permission.
If the contest is cleared to go ahead, it represents another chapter in the WBA ‘Regular’ title story, with the organisation diluting the picture with a series of bizarre rulings.
Charr (31-4, 17 KOs) is their current ‘champion in recess’, and it never should have got to that point, with the Syrian, based in Germany inactive since November 2017, yet still considered their ‘Regular’ champion all the way up to February 2021.
‘Diamond Boy’ has been mainly a fringe contender at best, first competing for a world title in September 2012, stopped in four by then WBC boss, Vitali Klitschko.
Five straight wins followed and Charr was then knocked out in seven by Alexander Povetkin which started a run of three defeats in five outings, with a majority decision loss to Johann Duhaupas preceding a fifth round knockout loss to Mairis Briedis in August 2015.
Charr has only fought twice since outpointing former Tyson Fury foe Sefer Seferi to win the WBA International strap in September 2016, before claiming the vacant WBA ‘Regular’ bauble with a points win over Alexander Ustinov in November 2017.
That’s where the trouble started, with Charr due to take on Trevor Bryan for over two years, but before that, Charr was punished by the WBA for a failed test prior to a scheduled meeting with Fres Oquendo and then various promotional wrangles pushed the fight with Bryan back further and further.
Charr vs Bryan was scheduled to finally take place in January 2021, but a visa issue halted the meeting with just days to go until fight night.
Enter Hall of Fame promoter Don King again, who lobbied the WBA to make Bryan’s contest with Bermane Stiverne, for the vacant ‘Regular’ belt, and to strip Charr of his title. The WBA agreed, but then decided to recess Charr, meaning he can challenge for the belt at any point. Still with us?
Bryan claimed the belt with an eleventh round stoppage of Stiverne in Florida.
For now though, he returns after a long lay-off to take on Lovejoy. It isn’t clear if some sort of WBA belt is on the line.
Lovejoy (19-0, KO19) has a record like he is the second coming of Mike Tyson, but it is heavily padded, and the Las Vegas resident has exclusively, and bizarrely, had all of his contests in Tijuana, Mexico.
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‘Pretty Boy’ has only faced a man with a winning record once, and comes into this bout off a January 2020 first round knockout of the 12-15-7 Misael Sanchez.
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Prediction: Literally anything could happen if the two meet, as Charr has been largely inactive and Lovejoy is a mystery man. The tentative pick is for Charr to take a clear points win.
Heavyweight gatekeeper, Christian Hammer appears on this card, and he takes part in an eight rounder with Poland’s Patryk Kowoll (7-24, 5 KOs).
Hammer (25-7, 15 KOs) has been in with a whole host of names, including Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin, and Luis Ortiz to name a few, and is coming off a loss to Tony Yoka in November 2020, where he lost all ten rounds.
Prediction: Kowoll has been stopped 16 times in his 24 defeats, and Hammer should remove him before halfway.
Another Heavyweight contest sees former high-level amateur, Viktor Vykhryst meet Jacek Krzysztof Piatek over a scheduled ten.
Vykhyrst (6-0, 4 KOs) has operated in the World Series, and although Poland’s Piatek (11-0, 9 KOs) is unbeaten, his record is padded and the Ukrainian, based in Germany should win inside the distance.
The remainder of the card sees Volkan Gokcek (5-0, 3 KOs) take on Giorgi Mtchedlidze (4-0-1, 2 KOs) over eight at Super Lightweight, and at Light Heavyweight, Mohammed Bekdash (19-0, 16 KOs) meets Mindia Nozadze (13-20, 11 KOs).