Manuel Charr-Fres Oquendo purse bid settled; date, site still TBD

Manuel Charr will defend his secondary heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo this spring after POW Sports on Friday won the purse bid to take control of the promotional rights for the fight.

POW Sports, which is part of Oquendo's team, bid $600,000 to easily beat a $101,000 offer from Charr's camp at the WBA purse bid. The fighters will split the winning bid 50-50.

John Wirt, the CEO of Square Ring, which co-promotes Oquendo with Bobby Hitz, told ESPN that they will probably put the fight on in Chicago, Oquendo's hometown.

The bout must take place within 90 days of the purse bid, but Wirt said they are hoping to stage the fight in April or May, but that the date will depend on a broadcast deal.

"We're trying to get TV and talking to various networks," Wirt said.

Charr's team, had it won, was eyeing April 7 in Cologne, Germany.

"Of course, we would have loved to stage the fight in Germany, but we are also happy to travel to Chicago," said Bernd Trendelkamp, Charr's promoter.

The winning bid was surprisingly high considering few recognize Charr as the legitimate titleholder since Anthony Joshua is the main titleholder and one of the biggest stars in boxing.

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.

"It is always better to fight in front of your home fans, but Chicago is a beautiful city, and I have many fans in the United States, so I am looking forward to the fight," Charr said. "I know and respect Fres. If I have to beat him in front of his home crowd, then so be it. I hope that many fans will come to support me. It will be a great experience and hopefully an exciting fight."

Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs), 44, has not been relevant 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.