German boxer Manuel Charr has won the heavyweight title after beating Russian Alexander Ustinov in a unanimous decision. Charr had gone through a two-year recovery after being shot in the stomach and hip dysplasia.
Chants of "Manu! Manu!" rang throughout the König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany on Saturday as Manuel Charr finished off his fight against Alexander "The Great" Ustinov.
When the bell rang, Charr, 33, was all smiles as he threw his gloves into the crowd. As the ring announcer read out the scores for his unanimous victory, the German boxer closed his eyes and held his fist in the air.
"What can I say? Germany, we are World Champions," Charr said after the decision.
With the victory over Ustinov, Charr became the WBA world heavyweight champion. Although, Britian's Anthony Joshua is the reigning WBA "Super" heavyweight champion, meaning that the fight is effectively for a secondary world title. There is also confusion as to whether Lebanon-born Charr actually owns a German passport yet.
Nonetheless, his achievement is remarkable for a man who had to overcome a gunshot wounds in his stomach. Charr still has scars on his abdomen from an altercation in September 2015 at a kebab restaurant in Essen that resulted in Charr being shot in the stomach. On top of that, he had to overcome congenital hip dysplasia in order to get back to the ring.
"I am so happy," Charr said. "The past two years I have experienced everything one can experience. From being shot in the stomach to my two new hips. But I fought through it."
Ustinov, who is 2.02 meters (6 feet, 7 inches) tall, had the height and weight advantage in the fight. Charr struggled in the early going, finding himself against the ropes in the first round and picking up a cut on his left eyebrow in the third round. But he eventually battled back, bringing the crowd to its feet when he trapped Ustinov in the corner in the seventh round and dropping the Russian fighter with a big left bomb in the eighth.
The win for Charr was his 31st victory in 35 professional fights, while Ustinov picked up his second loss in his 36-fight career.