Manuel Charr becomes first German heavyweight champion in 85 years | News | DW | 26.11.2017
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Manuel Charr becomes first German heavyweight champion in 85 years

After a double hip replacement and being shot in a kebab shop in 2015, naturalized German Manuel Charr has become the first heavyweight champion since Max Schmeling in the 1930s. It's a high spot in an eventful life.

Charr arrived in Germany in 1989 as a refugee from Lebanon, where he had been born five years before.

On Saturday night in front of 5,000 people in Oberhausen, the now 33-year-old won a unanimous decision over Russia's Alexander Ustinov to become the WBA heavyweight champion of the world.

The judges gave Charr the decision 114-111, 116-111 and 115-112.

In the seventh round Charr had the taller Russian fighter on the ropes and tried to finish him off. While Ustinov withstood the punches he seemed bewildered.

Charr kept hitting Ustinov with his left and in the eighth round caught the Russian with a vicious left punch that left him on his knees with a bad cut under his left eye. Saved by the bell, Ustinov battled on until the end of the fight but Charr was declared the winner.

The win should give Charr a fight against British world champion Anthony Joshua.

An eventful life

Seven months ago Charr was recovering from a double hip replacement. He said he would have been champion sooner had the operation taken place before last April.

Charr's life has been eventful. He was stabbed in the back with a knife when he was 16 and in 2015 was shot four times in the stomach in a drive-by shooting following an altercation in a kebab shop in Essen.

"I have experienced much more than fits in a life," Charr said before the fight. "I'm like a cat with seven lives. I've used five so I have to change something."

In his first world title fight in 2012, Charr lost to Vitali Klitschko on a technical knock-out.

Charr has a win-loss record of 31-4 with 17 knock-outs.  

jm/ls (dpa, AP)

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