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Why Boxing is Becoming a Farce

Boxing can be one of the most exciting sports to watch. However, it is the way in which the sport is run that is danger of making it a farce. Why are there so many champions and how on earth do they work out their rankings?

Name me the WBA World Heavyweight Champion. I bet you quickly shouted ‘Anthony Joshua.’ Actually, you’d be wrong because Joshua is the WBA Super Champion. Ok he’s good but is he super?

So, just who is the WBA Heavyweight Champion?

The answer that probably isn’t on the tip of your tongue is the Mahmoud Charr also know as Manuel Charr, yes him. Let’s look at his record shall we?

Charr is 35 years old and has a professional record of 31 wins and four defeats. How did he become champion? Well, he beat Alexander Ustinov on points, three years ago.  Since that loss, Ustinov has lost two more fights including a third round defeat by Joe Joyce last year.

Charr hasn’t exactly been defending his ‘title.’ In fact, since winning the belt, he hasn’t had a single fight. For some reason though, he remains the WBA Heavyweight Champion.

Now shouldn’t a WBA Heavyweight Champion aspire to become the Super Champion? There is not a chance in hell of Charr being considered as a challenger for Joshua.  Six years ago, Charr was stopped in seven rounds by Joshua’s next opponent Alexander Povetkin.  In 2012, he challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title and lasted just four rounds.

Further Complications on the Way

Surely the situation can’t become any more complicated. Well, yes it can because now we need to look at Trevor Bryan. He’s the current WBA Interim Champion, surely you knew that?

He has an unbeaten record with 20 wins out of 20, however only seven have been against boxers who have won more pro fights than they have lost.  Who did he beat to be considered deserving of a ‘title’ match?  The three opponents beaten before that ‘title’ match now have records that have seen them losing a total of 77 fights. Just before his ‘title’ shot, Bryan beat Francois Russell who had lost 11 fights in a row and since losing in the third round to Bryan has lost nine. Beating such an opponent shouldn’t get you a ‘title’ fight, but it does in the WBA.

Bryan then beat BJ Flores in 2018 to become the interim ‘champion’. Flores had been fighting in the cruiserweight division and had previously been beaten by Tony Bellew being knocked down four times before the fight was stopped in the third round.

Somehow, despite that crushing loss, Flores moved up to heavyweight and was immediately given a match against Jeremy Bates for the vacant NABA Heavyweight title. He won that fight inside a round. Bates had already lost 18 pro fights and in his last fight had been beaten inside a round by Jose Rivas. How that got him the chance to become the NABA Heavyweight chanpion is beyond me. He hasn’t fought since that loss.

As for Flores, well he hasn’t set foot in a ring since either, what is going on with these boxers?

How about Trevor Bryan, the interim ‘title’ holder. 20 wins in a row and a belt, surely his career should be flourishing now. Think again, Bryan also hasn’t had a fight since beating Flores.

Nearly two years have passed since that ‘title’ win and not one defence, but he’s not been stripped and in the May 2020 WBA rankings is the number one contender, above the likes of Deontay Wilder and Oleksandr Usyk.

Bryan was called out by Tyson Fury as he looked for some warm-ups before his second fight with Deontay Wilder. Nothing materialised though and Bryan remains inactive but still a ‘title’ holder.

There has been talk of Bryan facing Charr for the WBA World Heavyweight title. The current pandemic has delayed all of that though. But honestly, when there are boxers such as Joshua, Fury, Wilder, Usyk and Povetkin in the real title hunt, who cares about a match between Charr and Bryan?

Rankings Disaster

Now let’s look at the latest ranking list and there are some big shocks on the way. Tyson Fury isn’t listed in the rankings, just put down as the current WBC Champion. Bryan is the number one contender followed by Deontay Wilder (no wins in his last two fights) and then blown-up cruiserweight Aleksandr Usyk.

Despite losing twice in his last five fights to Deontay Wilder (both inside the distance), Luis Ortiz is in fourth. Former champion Andy Ruiz Jr sinks to fifth, even though he’s previously beaten Super Champion Anthony Joshua.

Now we come to the boxer ranked ninth on the current list and it’s a British fighter, namely Dereck Chisora.  Hands up who thought it might be Dillian Whyte who has beaten him not once but twice?  Or how about Joe Joyce or Daniel Dubois who meet later this year? Neither Whyte, Joyce or Dubois are in the current top 15 list, an absolute disgrace.

It’s not just the WBA

Other governing bodies in boxing are also turning the sport into a farce. Tyson Fury is the WBC Champion, yet they also have an interim champion in Dillian Whyte, a boxer who can set boxing free bets ticking with the bookies but who has been waiting for another title shot for the past three years. With Fury scheduled to defend his title against Deontay Wilder and then have two fights against Anthony Joshua, Whyte will continue to have to wait but why should he? His interim title is worthless but he still takes on and beats top contenders. Sooner or later, he might lose and then he’ll never get a title shot.

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More Ranking Mysteries

Chisora is ranked once place above Kubrat Pulev. That’s the boxer who beat Chisora four years ago. He’s unbeaten in his last eight fights over a five-year period but that’s still only good enough to be ranked tenth. Pulev has only lost one of 29 pro fights and that was an unsuccessful title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko.

In 11th position, we have the unbeaten Agit Kabayel. He’s won 19 in a row, including a successful European title defence against a certain Dereck Chisora, but he’s still ranked below the Brit.

At number 14 is the unbeaten Mladen Miljas, also known as ‘Monster Mel.’ He’s beaten absolutely nobody of any note but is in the top 15, while Whyte, Joyce and Dubois aren’t.  The Boxrec website aren’t quite in agreement with the WBA over how high he should be ranked. They have him at number 98!

One of the boxers Mijas has beaten to earn this ranking is Travis Fulton who has lost 48 pro fights and ranked 687th by Boxrec. He regularly gets penalised for excessive holding, including a couple of DQs.

Saving the Best for Last

And then there was Fres Oquendo who is ranked 15th by the WBA. He has some big names on his record, not that he’s beaten any of them. Oquendo faced Evander Holyfield for the USBA Heavyweight title but lost a close points decison to him. That was 14 years ago!

Other big names on his record include James Toney and Oliver McCall. He lost to them in 2008 and 2010 respectively. You might have worked out by now that Oquendo isn’t that young. He is in fact 47 years old but still ranked 15th by the WBA, above Whyte, Joyce and Dubois.

Oquendo last had a pro fight in 2014, yes six years ago and he lost that one. But he’s still in the rankings. In fact, he was a lot higher until of late despite his inactivity. What’s going on then?  Well, it’s all a bit political as is often the case in pro boxing.

He was due to be taking on Manuel Charr for the WBA Heavyweight title in 2018. How he was getting a ‘title’ shot after being inactive since 2014 is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was that win in 2014 against Galen Brown who stopped fighting in 2018 after losing 40 pro fights.?

That bout against Charr never happened as his opponent failed a drugs test. Oquendo claims that there was a clause in his contract that said he’d be paid his $325,ooo if that happened. He’s never been paid with that amount currently held in escrow and court proceedings are likely. As for Charr, he was suspended for six months but not stripped of his title, why?

The WBA actually reduced that suspension and ordered Charr to defend his belt against Oquendo within 60 days. That was last year, even though Oquendo hadn’t fought since 2014.  The fight never happened, so Charr was told to fight Bryan and that hasn’t took place either.

It’s all a farce isn’t it?

Why can’t the WBA and other governing bodies have just a champion and a second-level belt? How do they work out their rankings and why are top boxers not listed despite impressive recent form. Boxing needs to sort itself out or it will  become even more of a farce.

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June 26th, 2020 by Simon A

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