Manuel Charr, who was due to defend his secondary heavyweight world title against Fres Oquendo in a mandatory fight on Sept. 29 in Cologne, Germany, has tested positive for two banned substances, the anabolic steroids epitrenbolone and drostanolone, and the fight has been canceled.
On Wednesday night, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which is handling drug testing for the fight, received test results from a Charr random urine test and notified the camps of the results.
"This letter is to advise you that Mr. Manual Charr's 'A' sample urine specimen number 4256987 collected on August 31, 2018 in Cologne, Germany through his participation in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) program has been analyzed for anabolic agents, diuretics, beta-2 agonists, stimulants, IRMS, EPO, and drugs of abuse. The results of the analysis are as follows: Adverse. Urine specimen number 4256987: epitrenbolone and drostanolone metabolites detected," VADA said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN.
Charr has the right to have his 'B' sample tested at his expense.
"The message came that I tested positive. My manager, Christian Hunter, and my promoter, Bernd Trendelburg, have cancelled the fight without informing me before or contacting me. I am very disappointed in this approach," Charr said in a statement. "I can't explain the result, but I will do anything to solve it. I am now waiting for the result of the 'B' sample and I have once again undergone an independent and voluntary doping test. The results are expected to be published on Saturday.
"I have always been clean in all the fighting, and I can therefore definitely not explain how this result. I'm in shock myself, dear fans, especially as I'm in the final (stages) of the fight preparation. The defense of the championship has been my life for months. I am preparing for this fight with great discipline. During my (training) I take various supplements. It will be examined whether the food supplements may have influenced the doping sample."
Charr (31-4, 17 KOs), 33, a Syria native who fights out of Germany, won the vacant second tier title by unanimous decision against Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany on Nov. 25 and was due to make his first defense against Oquendo. Now Charr likely will be stripped of the belt.
Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs), 45, of Chicago, has not been a relevant contender for years and has not boxed since losing a majority decision to Ruslan Chagaev for the same vacant title in July 2014. Injuries and other issues prevented him from fighting for the title again since but the WBA was obligated to give him a title opportunity based on a federal court order after Oquendo won a lawsuit to enforce his rights. He was set to face Charr after other secondary title bouts had fallen through.
"The WBA should do the right thing and crown me champion," Oquendo said in a statement provided to ESPN. "I shouldn't be punished for something I'm doing right, which is not cheating."
In his quest to for the WBA's "regular" title, Oquendo had other opponents fail drug tests, causing the fight to be canceled, including Shannon Briggs.
"We have read reports that Charr's promoter has canceled the fight following Charr's positive doping test. Except for the VADA letter, we have not heard anything official," Square Ring CEO John Wirt, who co-promotes Oquendo with Bobby Hitz, told ESPN. "Obviously, if the fight is canceled it will be another injustice in a long line of huge disappointments in Fres' path to fight for the WBA ('regular') heavyweight title."