It seems we could soon see yet another heavyweight match-up contesting a version of the WBA title. As fight fans know, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko are set to meet for the “super” version of the WBA belt next March or April (dependent on Joshua coming through okay against his IBF title challenger Eric Molina on December 10) and Shannon Briggs and Lucas Browne are set to rumble, with the “regular” version on the line before the end of the year.
And now, according to Alexander Ustinov’s manager Vladimir Hyrunov, Ustinov will fight either Manuel Charr or David Haye for the “interim” version – yes, that’s a third version of the same title – in the coming weeks. Hryunov has been quoted by Metro as saying how his fighter Ustinov (who was in line to face then WBA title claimant Luis Ortiz for a version of the strap, until Ortiz was relieved of said strap) is guaranteed a shot and it is just a matter of which fighter he meets for the interim belt.
“Alexander Ustinov has reserved the right with the WBA to hold a championship fight,” Hryunov said. “And I think in the next two weeks a contract will be signed with one of the boxers holding a high position in the rankings. This will be for the WBA’s interim championship. And there will be negotiations with the two most likely opponents – David Haye or German Manuel Charr.”
No wonder the average fight fan is confused as to who the heavyweight champions are. Three WBA holders? Baffling stuff. Still, in terms of decent match-ups and interesting fights, the recently announced collection of heavyweight title fights – with Klitschko-Joshua, Browne-Briggs, Joseph Parker-Andy Ruiz Jnr and now Ustinov-Haye or Ustinov-Charr upcoming – fans do have plenty to look forward to.
Never mind that neither Haye nor Charr nor Ustinov have really done anything to be deserving of a title shot of any kind here in 2016. Of the two possibilities, it’s probable a Ustinov-Haye fight would prove the most marketable. But will Haye take this fight if he is offered it? Haye may choose to wait to see how the WBO title fight between Parker and Ruiz Jnr unfolds, mandated as he has been to fight the winner within 120 days of the scheduled Dec 10 fight.
Haye, it seems, has options.