June 1, 2018
June 1, 2018
Mike Tyson

Action Images/Reuters/Damir Sagolj

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REMEMBER in 2012 when some random bloke gatecrashed David Haye’s press conference following his win over Dereck Chisora? He approached the top table, said something in broken English, and then smiled as he was led away by security, leaving a perplexed Haye to quickly run through all the men he knew – boxers, ideally – from the Middle East.

Later we’d learn that the guy who gatecrashed the press conference was Manuel Charr, a German heavyweight of Lebanese descent who was undefeated at the time, and now, in 2018, calls himself a WBA regular heavyweight champion.

Better yet, I’m pleased to report that Charr is once again on the hunt for British heavyweights and prepared, if it comes to that, to gatecrash press conferences and get right up in their grill.

“I have a message for Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua,” Charr said via Facebook video. “It’s my time. I’m coming for you guys to the UK, and I’m hoping to meet you in the ring. It will be fireworks, I promise. Manuel Charr is back as WBA heavyweight champion. I’m coming for you, AJ. Tyson, AJ, I’m coming for you.”

As great as it is to have champions like Wilder and Joshua, unbeaten and marketable fighters with gargantuan upside, you also need unpredictable heavyweights like Charr. After all, it is they, more than the stars, who keep the division chugging along, for better or worse, and it’s they who keep the rest on their toes (and perhaps nervously glancing over their shoulder). Again, for better or worse.


It has often been said that Mike Tyson needs to calm down and chill out.

Well, now, thanks to last night’s launch of the Tyson Ranch, his own 40-acre pot farm in the Mojave Desert, the former heavyweight champion of the world has ample opportunity to do just that.

A cannabis resort for growers and enthusiasts, the Tyson Ranch is essentially Tyson’s attempt to join the numerous other celebrities who have capitalised on marijuana now being legal in the state of California. More than that, though, it offers ‘Iron’ Mike the chance to advocate something he believes has been crucial in easing the pain of the many injuries he has suffered as a result of boxing.

“I’ve been fighting for over 20 years and I have so many aches and pains,” said Tyson. “If I didn’t have cannabis I don’t know what would happen.”

Mike Tyson isn’t the first boxer to preach the virtues of cannabis in relation to aches and pains. Only yesterday, in fact, former IBF world heavyweight champion Chris Byrd was singing to me from exactly the same hymn sheet.

Who knows, maybe there’s something in it, after all.

Jeff Fenech


And finally… it seems as though 2016 Olympic gold medallist Tony Yoka will take his four-fight heavyweight pro career up a notch when he boxes Britain’s Dave Allen on June 23 in Paris, France.

Allen revealed on social media he has accepted terms for the Yoka fight and says he “cannot wait for the big opportunity”.

Allen, 13-3-2 (10), was last seen stopping Dave Howe inside four rounds in May and, still just 26, carries plenty of ambition. Fitter and more focused than before, he has been on a decent run of form since losing a Commonwealth title fight to Lenroy Thomas in May 2017, and proven durable enough to take Dillian Whyte the 10-round distance and Luis Ortiz into the seventh round.

Yoka, meanwhile, is the French darling, a man of whom big things are expected, and is currently 4-0 (3) as a pro. He’s been matched well to date, beating heavyweights with winning records and a semblance of ambition, but Allen would appear, on paper at least, to represent his stiffest test so far.

Tony Yoka