Heavyweight Manuel Charr is looking to use his next opponent, Britain’s David Haye, as a stepping stone to both a shot at world heavyweight title glory and redemption against WBC champion Vitali Klitschko. The 28-year-old lost via cuts stoppage to the older Klitschko brother last September, but the nature of the defeat left him wanting more. And Charr now believes he has unfinished business with the hard-hitting Ukrainian.
“Before my fight with Vitali, I looked at him as the best heavyweight in the world,” he said. “My opinion changed after the fight, though. I respect both Klitschko brothers for their sportsmanship and legacy – both could be Hall-of-Fame fighters – but I know I was going to beat Vitali when our fight was stopped.
“It was my strategy to start slowly, make him miss a lot of punches and then come on strong in the middle and late rounds. He’s an old man, very slow, and I expected him to get tired as the fight went on. If you watch round four I was landing a lot of punches on him before the fight was stopped. Vitali knew how that fight was going to end. He knew he couldn’t beat me. And he didn’t beat me – the doctor stopped the fight.”
The manner of the defeat hurt Charr. It was bloody, harsh and, above all else, inconclusive. Just as he started to build up a head of steam, the bout was all over. Charr saw his dream of winning a world heavyweight title evaporate there and then.
On June 29 in Manchester, however, he gets the chance to again manoeuvre his way to a shot at the biggest prize in the sport. And if he can upset the odds and defeat Haye in front of his home fans, there can be no denying the world-ranked Syrian a second go at Klitschko.
“Vitali doesn’t want to fight David and he doesn’t want to fight me again, either,” said Charr, 23-1 (13 KO). “But if Vitali is any sort of champion he will look at this fight on June 29 and then fight the winner. We both want him and we have both earned the right to get a shot.
“He’s never fought David Haye, and Haye has called him out for three years now. Vitali said he wanted to knock him out, shut him up and all this other rubbish, but he never did anything about it. The fight has never happened.
“I won’t let Vitali do the same to me. I want my rematch and to get it I have to knockout David Haye on June 29. So that is exactly what I will do.”