In the latest chapter of the never-ending and nightmarish saga that is the WBA "regular" heavyweight title, titleholder Manuel Charr has failed a drug test, putting off an upcoming title defense against Fres Oquendo.
Charr was supposed to defend his title on September 29 against Oquendo, but Charr failed a random VADA test done on August 24. According to a report from The Sun, Charr’s urine sample came back positive for the anabolic steroids epitrenbolone and drostanolone.
Charr released the following statement to Sky in Germany, claiming his innocence.
"I swear I have not taken anything.
I have had seven title fights in my career, have undergone countless rehearsals and NEVER had a positive test. Of course, I have taken supplements in preparation, but never done anything forbidden.
I eat in different restaurants every day, maybe something happened that I did not know anything about, unfortunately, I cannot give an explanation, I’m just shocked and sad.”
The issue with the WBA secondary title is the fact that its continued existence is due to the fact that its very existence continues on due to a court ruling that requires the WBA to award Oquendo a heavyweight world title opportunity. Since the "regular" title is technically considered a world title by the WBA, Oquendo is the mandatory challenger for that title.
The 45-year-old Oquendo has not fought since losing a majority decision to Ruslan Chagaev in July 2014, more than three years ago. Having made his pro debut in 1997, Oquendo has fought the likes of James Toney, Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz and David Tua among other notable heavyweights.
Charr currently has the right to appeal the test result and have his "B" sample tested. Charr won the vacant title last November with a victory over Alexander Ustinov. Charr is one of three WBA heavyweight champions as Anthony Joshua currently holds the WBA "super" title and Trevor Bryan is the interim champion, having won the belt on August 11 with a win over former cruiserweight title challenger BJ Flores.