Arab puncher Manuel Charr ready to beat Fres Oquendo in his own backyard

Manuel Charr celebrates winning the world heavyweight belt in November. (Reuters)
Updated 14 February 2018
0

Arab puncher Manuel Charr ready to beat Fres Oquendo in his own backyard

LONDON: Manuel Charr, the world’s first Arab heavyweight boxing champion, will make the first defense of his WBA title this spring and move one step closer to a super fight with the division’s highest-profile fighters.
The Lebanese-German will fight mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo on May 4 in Chicago after Oquendo’s camp successfully bid for the promotional rights to the fight. POW Sports, which is part of Oquendo’s team, bid $600,000 to easily beat a $101,000 offer from Charr’s camp at the WBA purse bid. The fighters will split the winning bid 50-50. Confirmation of the winning bid comes almost three months after the WBA first initiated negotiations for their fight, but an inability to come to an agreement meant that purse bids were then ordered.
Charr and his promoters had hoped to stage the fight on April 7 in Cologne, given Germany is where he has mostly fought, but he will now fight outside of Europe for the first time.
“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 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.”
Charr was born in Beirut but raised in Germany from the age of five. He dedicated his title win over Alexander Ustinov in November “to Germany, the country which gave me a chance and built me up.”
“Of course, we would have loved to stage the fight in Germany, but we are also happy to travel to Chicago,” said Bernd Trendelkamp, Charr’s promoter. “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.”
Charr, 33, has won 31 of his 35 fights, including 17 by knockout, and he will be the favorite against Oquendo, who will turn 45 a month before the fight and who has, partly owing to injury, been inactive since July 2014 when he lost a majority decision to Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev.
Oquendo earned the status of mandatory challenger with the WBA through a federal court order he pursued after not being given the rematch with Chagaev he had been promised.
Victory in Chicago — where, incidentally, there had been interest in staging the World Boxing Super Series final between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev scheduled for Jeddah on May 11 — will take either Charr or Oquendo into contention for an eventual fight with IBF and WBA super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, or another of the division’s highest-profile fighters.
The returning Tyson Fury has already called out Charr. “Tell me I’m not gonna take over the division once again!” tweeted Fury last month. “Wilder AJ Parker Charr watch out as the boggy man is coming for you! I’ll see you in your nightmares! GYPSYKING WILL REIGN OVER THE WORLD.”
Charr’s rise up the rankings, to hold one of the heavyweight belts, is remarkable when you consider the setbacks he has had to overcome. He was stabbed in the back at the age of 16 and then, in September 2015, he was left fighting for his life after being shot in the stomach following an altercation at a kebab restaurant. He returned to the ring just seven months later, bearing the scars of the attack on his abdomen. Then came another setback earlier last year when both hips had to be replaced.


David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

Updated 24 March 2019
0

David Warner on fire in IPL return after ball-tampering ban but epic knock not enough to stop Kolkata

  • Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament
  • During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean

KOLKATA: Australia’s David Warner smashed 85 from 53 balls on his Indian Premier League comeback Sunday but his knock went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Warner, who along with compatriot Steve Smith returns to the Twenty20 tournament after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, steered Sunrisers to 181 for three after being put into bat.
Warner did not play in the 2018 edition of the IPL tournament after organizers stopped him for his part in the scandal.
His one-year ban from international cricket ends later this month and the 32-year-old opener is expected to make Australia’s World Cup squad and play in this summer’s Ashes series in England.
During his ban, he played T20 franchise cricket in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean, and grade cricket in Australia.
His efforts though were not enough, with Andre Russell hitting an unbeaten 49 off 19 balls as the Knight Riders won by six wickets with two balls to spare at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
A pause for a floodlight failure in the 16th over re-charged Knight Riders’ chase as Russell put together an unbeaten 65-run stand with Shubman Gill, who hit 18 runs including the winning six.
Russell struck four fours and four sixes
Earlier Warner stood out during a 118-run opening stand with England’s Jonny Bairstow, who made 39, to lay the platform for their big total.
“It is good to get out there and contribute. It looked a nice wicket to bat on but it slowed down a bit which made us reassess after six overs,” Warner said after his knock.
The Australian admitted some anxiety before his big return to IPL — and an unusual solution.
“I was a bit nervous in the dressing room and kept drinking pickle juice,” he said.
Opener Warner survived a reprieve on 38 after Knight Riders captain and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik dropped him off left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their only IPL title in 2016, made the most of the spill and raced to his 37th IPL fifty with a six off Russell to signal his aggressive intent.
Bairstow was bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla but Warner took the attack to the opposition, hitting nine fours and three sixes during his blitz.
Warner, who recently recovered from an elbow injury he picked in the Bangladesh Premier League, finally fell to Russell after driving the ball to cover.
Warner said his elbow “wasn’t all too bad” after doing a lot of work with his trainer back home.
Year-long bans from state and international cricket for Warner and Smith end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL’s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.
Smith is expected to appear for his team Rajasthan Royals in their opening match against Kings XI Punjab in Jaipur on Monday.