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Mairis Briedis stops Manuel Charr in 5th round KO

By Jim Dower: Former heavyweight world title challenger Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr (28-4, 16 KOs) saw his once promising 10 year pro career take a huge hit tonight with him getting knocked clean out in the 5th round by unbeaten Latvian heavyweight Mairis Briedis (17-0, 14 KOs) in a scheduled 8 round bout on Saturday night at the Akhmat Arena, in Grozny, Russia.

Charr, 30, was hurt by a hard right uppercut by the 30-year-old Briedis followed by a left hook that sent Charr face down on the canvas out cold. The referee Irakly Malazonia didn’t even bother to count and immediately halted the fight at 2:55 after seeing Charr face down on the canvas and not moving at all.

Charr, 245lbs, had a 32 pound weight advantage over the 213lb Briedis tonight, and he was expected to win this fight based on his huge size advantage alone. Charr walked the smaller Briedis down in the first four rounds, blocking many of his shots with his gloves, and taking the ones that leaked through. Occasionally, Charr would nail Briedis with heavy hooks to the head.

In the 4th round, Charr nailed Briedis some solid shots to the head. However, Briedis was able to catch Charr with a big right uppercut near the end of the round while backed up against the ropes. The two fighters then went into a clinch. While the referee was attempting to break them, Charr nailed Briedis with a right hand on the break, showing that was starting to lose his cool a little bit.

In the 5th, Charr continued to walk Briedis down, but he was getting hit with shots to the side of the head. Finally, Briedis caught Charr with a beautiful right uppercut that snapped his head back. Briedis then followed quickly with a left hook to the head that put Charr down flat on his face on the canvas for the knockout. I don’t think the left hook was really needed by Briedis because Charr appeared to be out cold from the right uppercut that caught him. The left hook was just a finishing shot that ensured that Charr wasn’t going to be able to get up.

For Charr, this was his third defeat in his last five fights since last May. He was stopped by former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin in the 7th round in October 2014. Charr rebounded from that defeat to stop 43-year-old Michael Grant in the 5th round last October. However, Charr was beaten soundly by France’s 6’5” Johann Duhaupas by a 10 round decision last April. In Charr’s last fight, he defeated former world title challenger Alex Leapai by an impressive 10 round unanimous decision last May.

It’s hard to say where Charr goes from here, given that this was his 3rd loss in his last 5 fights. He’s still young enough to turn his career around at age 30, but he looks really slow on his feet, and he doesn’t have the speed and explosiveness to compete against the faster heavyweights. Charr might be able to lose some weight and pick up some speed, but I doubt it.

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