The WBA Reinstate Mahmoud Charr As Their 'Regular' Heavyweight Champion

'Diamond Boy' regains boxing's worst belt
10:00, 05 Sep 2023

The WBA have been forced to bring back their utterly ridiculous ‘regular’ heavyweight championship, a satellite belt that exists alongside the ‘super’ championship held by Oleksandr Usyk. The secondary belt had only just been erased from existence, when champion Daniel Dubois lost to Usyk two weeks ago. But now a court ruling has not only forced its return but has bestowed it upon Mahmoud Charr, without question the worst ‘world champion’ currently operating in boxing.

Charr won the vacant belt with a win over Alexander Ustinov in 2018. ‘Diamond Boy’ then failed a drugs test ahead of a scheduled defence against Fres Oquendo. Mystifyingly, the WBA retained him as champion for the duration of his two-year suspension. This in itself was a contradiction, given the organisation had stripped the previous champion Lucas Browne of the exact same title for failing a drugs test. The WBA eventually relented and made Charr ‘champion in recess’ after three years out of the ring.


But Charr challenged the ruling and has battled on a legal footing to get his old belt back. The belt he never defended because he was banned from doing so for two years. That, at the end of his ban, he still didn’t defend for a further year. While the likes of Dubois and Trevor Bryan have held his old title, Charr has fought in the courtroom to take back what he thinks is his. This challenge has worked and he has now been reinstated as the champion of a belt even the WBA themselves were hoping to finally get rid of.

The much-maligned sanctioning body had been working towards eliminating the unpopular ‘regular’ titles by having their holders fight the ‘super’ champions where possible. The Usyk-Dubois bout was one such consolidation. But their hand has been forced here. They have been lumped with a ‘champion’ who hasn’t fought a ranked contender in over six years. Who has fought just thrice since 2017, against poor opposition.


However, while this may feel like a rare case of the WBA being the heroes of a story, how they’ve chosen to proceed is still typically troubling. They could have at least attempted to get Charr to accept his old ‘champion in recess’ designation. They could have ordered a fight against Usyk to end this sorry mess once and for all. Instead they have installed Jarrell Miller as Charr’s mandatory.

It is darkly appropriate that a fighter with multiple failed drugs tests on his record will face Charr for the title. The VADA will be working overtime when these two square off. Even putting aside obvious doping concerns, Miller has fed almost solely on washed-up former challengers and a parade of never-weres on his way to what we will charitably call “the top”. It’s a truly rancid fight for a joke of a title.

Yet at the same time, it is what the WBA deserves. For creating a belt designed purely to syphon sanctioning fees from undeserving champions and weak challengers, their penance is an unattractive fight between two drug cheats. A fight nobody wants to see for a belt no serious fighter wants to win. A mess? Definitely. But one entirely of the WBA’s own making by enabling the ‘regular’ rubbish for so long.

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