Deontay Wilder was pencilled in to defend his WBC heavyweight title against former WBA title holder Alexander Povetkin in what was set to be the American’s toughest test through an unblemished 36-fight record.
Things took a sour turn though when it emerged late last week that Povetkin has tested positive for meldonium after the substance was put on the watch list earlier this year. The Russian is adamant that he’d stopped taking meldonium at the time it was banned by VADA and others, although two negative tests prior to his positive one told a different story and Povetkin is set for an enforced spell out of the ring.
Povetkin’s woes hit Wilder equally as hard with over 100 rounds of intense sparring going to waste, as explained to WBN by trainer Jay Deas on Sunday, whilst the whole sorry saga is yet another example of the fans suffering the loss of a potentially great contest.
This latest case adds to a string of high-profile champions and ex-belt holders to face discipline for from positive tests as the likes of Lucas Browne, Francisco Vargas, Evgeny Gradovich, Felix Sturm and European rulers Igor Mikhalkin and Erkan Teper all have clouds hanging over their heads.
There are plenty of other examples of boxers who haven’t yet held titles as the sport struggles to police an ongoing problem that will certainly breed more incidents of similar nature in the months and years to come.
Organisations are attempting to tackle the trouble head-on and that sadly means more scheduled contests and current contenders will fall foul of the punishments in place, which some believe are way too lenient and should mean lifetime bans.
Handing out such punishments is a hot debate though as some fighters – like Browne and Vargas – are insistent that food was to blame for their positive tests, which only serves to give the testers and bodies in charge a further headache on this delicate matter.