Manuel Charr tests positive for steroids and is set to be stripped of WBA title

Charr says he is shocked and claims innocence. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Manuel Charr tests positive for steroids and is set to be stripped of WBA title

  • Lebanon fighter has been forced to call off title defense against Fres Oquendo.
  • Two substances were founds in samples taken at a training camp on 31 August.

LONDON: World heavyweight champion Manuel Charr has had to call off next week’s title defense, and is set to be stripped of his WBA belt, after testing positive for steroids.

The 33-year-old, who was born in Lebanon but lives in Germany, was due to defend his title against American Fres Oquendo, 45, in Cologne on September 29, but the fight is off after Charr tested positive for two anabolic steroids.

“Under the circumstances, we will unfortunately have to cancel the world title fight,” Charr told Cologne-based newspaper Express and his management confirmed the title defense was off to SID, an AFP subsidiary.

“I can only ask my fans and all the people in Cologne to believe me and to trust that everything will be cleared up.

“I’m totally shocked by the news — I have never taken anything.”

Charr is set to lose the World Boxing Association belt he won last year, but Britain’s Anthony Joshua is the WBA ‘Super’ champion and will defend his title in London on Saturday against Alexander Povetkin.

Germany’s top selling daily Bild, Express and magazine Spiegel all report Charr tested positive for the steroids epitrenbolone and drostanolone.

“These are both anabolic steroids. That is absolute hardcore doping. In boxers, the emphasis is on increasing muscle strength,” doping expert Fritz Soergel told Bild.

The ‘B’ sample will now be tested, but if they also contain the steroids then the future looks bleak for Charr.

“The fight is shelved. In my opinion, the WBA will take the belt off Manuel,” Thomas Puetz, President of the German Professional Boxers Federation (BDB), told SID.

“Two substances were founds in one of Manuel’s samples taken at a training camp on 31 August, which have been on the banned list for some time.”

Charr won the vacant WBA belt last November with a unanimous win against Russia’s Alexander Ustinov and claimed to be Germany’s first heavyweight champion since Max Schmeling.

It turned out to be a lie, because the Beirut-born son of a Syrian family does not own a German passport.

Charr’s failed drugs test is the latest twist in a colorful career.

In September 2015, he was left fighting for his life after being shot in the stomach following an altercation at a kebab restaurant in Essen.

He returned to the ring just seven months later, bearing the scars of the attack on his abdomen, but another setback followed earlier last year when both hips had to be replaced.


Good evening, Jeddah! A wave from Neymar for 60,000 Saudi fans

Brazilian footballer Neymar acknowledges cheers from Saudi spectators before the match between Brazil and Argentina at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City. (Reuters)
Updated 48 min 12 sec ago
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Good evening, Jeddah! A wave from Neymar for 60,000 Saudi fans

  • For many, watching Brazil play Argentina in the “Superclasico de las Americas” was the opportunity of a lifetime
  • I never imagined I would be watching Brazil vs. Argentina in my country: Saudi fan

JEDDAH: Lionel Messi was not there, but Neymar and his Brazilian superstars were — and more than 60,000 Saudi fans loved every minute of their feast of football on Tuesday night at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

For many, watching Brazil play Argentina in the “Superclasico de las Americas” was the opportunity of a lifetime. 

“I always had a dream to see South American teams abroad, but I never expected a Superclasico to come all the way to my hometown,” said Abdullah Sheikh, 25.

Female fans were full of praise for King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for making this moment happen for them. “I am a football fanatic and was always jealous to see my brother going to football matches,” said Anoud Husseini. 

“After the ban was lifted this year, I went to Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin, and now I’m at the Superclasico and watching my favorite superstars live. It’s a dream come true for me.”

Bayan Qutub, also from Jeddah, told Arab News: “I never imagined I would be watching Brazil vs. Argentina in my country. Although I am not a diehard football fan, witnessing two giants lock horns in my city is a big thing, and so far it is full of entertainment for me and my family.”

And the match? Brazil won 1-0 — but the real winners were those 60,000 ecstatic football fans.