With two new hips, Charr beats Ustinov for heavyweight title
Seven months after a double hip replacement, Manuel Charr defeated Alexander Ustinov of Russia by unanimous decision for the vacant WBA heavyweight title on Nov. 25, reportedly keeping a promise to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The judges awarded it 114-111, 116-111 and 115-112 in favor of Charr, who became the first German heavyweight champion since Max Schmeling in the early 1930s.
Turkish media quoted him as saying on social media one week before the fight that he had promissed Erdoğan to win the bout.
“I know what it means to be refugee. I also know how much Erdoğan helps refugees,” he was reported as saying.
“To express this thankfullness, I want to fly to Turkey and present my belt to him after I win,” Charr said.
The Lebanese-born Charr, who was also shot in the stomach during an altercation at a kebab shop in 2015, said he would have been champion sooner if he had undergone the hip operation before last April.
Charr arrived in Germany in 1989 as a refugee. Born Mahmoud Omeirat Al-Charr in Beirut, Lebanon, he moved to Germany after his Syrian father was killed in the Lebanese civil war that ended in 1990.
He was stabbed in the back with a knife when he was 16.
“I have experienced much more than fits in a life,” Charr said before the bout. “I’m like a cat with seven lives. I’ve used five so I have to change something.”
Charr rocked Ustinov in the seventh round when he had the taller fighter against the ropes and tried to finish off the bout. The Russian weathered the punches but seemed disorientated, allowing Charr through again and again with his left.
Charr finished the eighth by catching Ustinov with a vicious left blow that left the Russian on his knees with blood streaming below his left eye. The bell provided respite.
Ustinov displayed remarkable resilience as he lumbered through the next rounds but Charr had already done enough.
Charr improved to 31-4 with 17 KOs, while Ustinov dropped to 34-2 (25 KOs).