Arab heavyweight champion Manuel Charr calls out Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua

Germany's Manuel Charr become a heavyweight champion after beating Russia's Alexander Ustinov in November. (AFP)
Updated 03 June 2018

Arab heavyweight champion Manuel Charr calls out Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua

  • Charr preparing to make the first defence of his title against Fres Oquendo
  • But he's got his sights set on British pair

Manuel Charr has fuelled suspicions he plans to use his WBA heavyweight title to secure a lucrative fight with Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury by calling out the British rivals.
The Lebanon-born Syrian, 33, is preparing to make the first defence of his title against mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo in Cologne, Germany on Sept. 29, and if he succeeds he will thereafter be in contention for a higher-profile fight.
Fury this Saturday returns to the ring after an absence of more than two-and-a-half years, and against Sefer Seferi, the Albanian Charr outpointed only two fights ago. Joshua remains in negotiations to meet either Deontay Wilder or Alexander Povetkin, but if he is to maintain his present level of activity he will need three opponents during 2019.
“I have a message for Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua,” Charr said. “It’s my time. I’m coming for you guys to the UK, and I’m hoping to meet you in the ring.
“It will be fireworks, I promise. Manuel Charr is back as WBA heavyweight champion.
“I’m coming for you, ‘AJ’. Tyson, AJ, I’m coming for you.”
Charr similarly confronted David Haye during the post-fight press conference of the latter’s victory over Dereck Chisora in July 2012, effectively ensuring his selection as an opponent for Haye the following year.
A hand injury Haye suffered meant that their fight never took place, but if the Briton refuses to retire despite successive defeats by Tony Bellew it would be for financial gain, so Charr would again become a logical target. Possession of the WBA title increases bargaining power, owing to its marketability in a fight against another of the division’s champions.
For that reason Charr is also considered a suitable target for Fury, who without a title could struggle to secure the purse he would expect from the potential fight with Joshua that will increasingly be in demand. Seferi’s selection as the former champion’s opponent was even justified by his promoter Frank Warren by the fact Seferi took Charr the distance, suggesting that the Syrian is on their radar and giving September’s fight with Oquendo further importance.

Oscar hat trick powers Shanghai into last 16

Updated 1 min 57 sec ago

Oscar hat trick powers Shanghai into last 16

  • Saudi sides Ahli and Hilal advance
  • Urawa qualify for knockout phase

SHANGHAI: Former Chelsea star Oscar hit a hat trick, including a wonderful curling effort from outside the box, to fire Shanghai SIPG into the AFC Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.

The Chinese champions’ 5-0 home demolition of a depleted, but already qualified, Ulsan Hyundai dumped Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale out of Asia’s premier club competition.

Shanghai SIPG’s Oscar  scores a goal against Ulsan Hyundai. (AFP)

On Monday night, goals from Omar Al-Somah and Abdulrahman Ghareeb helped Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli beat Uzbekistan’s Pakhtakor 2-1 to finish second behind Al-Sadd in Group D. 

Ahli needed to beat Pakhtakor to finish second behind Al Sadd and they did exactly that to make the next phase with nine points, one behind the Qataris. In Group C, Al-Hilal and Qatar’s Al Duhail played out a 2-2 draw. Both teams had already qualified for the last 16, with the Saudis assured of the top spot even before kick-off.

Kawasaki thrashed a weakened Sydney FC 4-0 away but SIPG squeezed through by a point in Group H over last year’s J-League winners. Ulsan still finished top of the group despite the thrashing and will meet Urawa Red Diamonds in the last 16 after their supersub Kazuki Nagasawa scored the opening goal and created another in a 3-0 win over Chinese Super League leaders Beijing Guoan in Saitama.

Vitor Pereira’s SIPG finished runners-up and will play Group G winners Jeonbuk, another Korean side, next month in the knockout rounds while high-flying Beijing failed to get past the group stage.

Oscar, who joined SIPG for an Asian-record €60 million from Chelsea in January 2017, said: “The (second) goal I scored was very beautiful and my favorite.”

Asked by AFP if the exquisite strike was a reminder to European football of his enduring qualities, the 27-year-old Brazilian said: “For players who come to Asia and China, their level is not going down. We keep working hard to improve our level step by step.”

SIPG made light of the absence of injured captain Hulk and were ahead after just seven minutes when Oscar played a clever one-two with fellow Brazilian Elkeson before firing first time past stand-in goalkeeper Moon Jung-in.

K-League leaders Ulsan made wholesale changes from the team that won 3-1 at Suwon Bluewings on Saturday allowing Pereira’s side to dominate at a half-empty Shanghai Stadium. Oscar’s neat first settled any nerves in the must-win game and the former international made it 2-0 on 42 minutes with his world-class strike into the top-left corner from the edge of the penalty area. Man of the match Oscar completed his hat trick on 76 minutes after striker Li Shenglong had made it 3-0 and substitute Hu Jinghang made it a five-star night. Over in Japan, Urawa had an early scare when captain Yosuke Kashiwagi was stretchered off in the 11th minute to be replaced by Nagasawa.

But they need not have worried as it was the substitute who broke the deadlock in the 34th minute as he shrugged off weak Beijing challenges at the edge of the box to fire past goalkeeper Zou Dehai.

Beijing needed at least a score draw to go through to the last 16 but their task became harder when Nagasawa turned provider seven minutes later, sliding in Yuki Muto to score. Urawa remained in control and in the 81st minute sealed their place in the knockout phase when Muto played in Shinzo Koroki to ram home.

Group winners Jeonbuk drew 0-0 with Thailand’s Buriram United in the other Group G match.