The May 21 title match between Alexander Povetkin and champion Deontay Wilder has been officially postponed due to Povetkin’s prefight drug test for the banned substance melodium, the WBC announced today.
The sanctioning body released the following statement:
The World Boxing Council is diligently addressing the positive test result from the Clean Boxing Program for mandatory heavyweight challenger Alexander Povetkin. Keeping the priority of safety and also the principle of justice, the WBC will continue the investigation into the case. Consequently, the event scheduled for May 21 in Moscow is hereby officially postponed.
The WBC will be releasing more information in the coming days regarding the final ruling on the matter.
Melodium, which reportedly assists athletes with endurance, became a banned substance by the World Anti Doping Agency in January. Povetkin’s camp argued the fighter stopped taking the substance in September and blamed the positive test on trace elements remaining in his system. However, reporter Gabriel Montoya confirmed Povetkin had negative results on April 7, 8 and 11 before testing positive on April 27.
At press time, Wilder’s camp has not announced plans for a replacement date nor an opponent.
This was the only logical outcome for this situation. Yes, most boxing fans are extremely disappointed. This is a matchup between two high-level heavyweights that have been knocking out all their recent competition. It was Povetkin’s chance to finally win a world title, and Wilder’s moment to finally silence all naysayers on whether he truly belongs at the elite level.
The entire blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Povetkin. His excuse is weak and his actions disgraceful. A postponement is a slap on the wrist — a fine and suspension is the example that should be set. As long as the penalties remain flimsy, fighters will keep trying their luck with performance enhancing drugs.
If the penalties for cheating are not severe in a sport built on physical punishment, why even have testing in the first place?
As for Wilder, the next ranked opponent in line is Bermane Stiverne at #2, who Wilder soundly defeated for the title, and Kubrat Pulev at #3, who just beat Dereck Chisora by split decision a few days ago. Here is the rest of the list:
1 .- Alexander Povetkin (Russia)
2 .- Bermane Stiverne (Haiti/Canada)
3 .- Kubrat Pulev (Bulgaria) EBU
4 .- Johann Duhaupas (France) SILVER
5 .- Carlos Takam (Cameroon)
6 .- Joseph Parker (New Zealand) OPBF
7 .- Andy Ruiz (Mexico) NABF
8 .- David Haye (GB)
9 .- Bryant Jennings (US)
10 .- Malik Scott (US)
11 .- Artur Szpilka (Poland)
12 .- Eric Molina (US)
13 .- Dereck Chisora (GB)
14 .- Ruslan Chagaev (Uzbekistan/Germany)
15 .- Gerald Washington (US)
The highlighted names are guys Wilder has already defeated. Pulev is likely first in line since it’s a fresh matchup and he’s coming off a high-profile win. If Wilder’s camp passes on Stiverne and Pulev, then it gets interesting. Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker have a fight scheduled and Andy Ruiz is a Top Rank fighter. David Haye would be a solid option, but the Hayemaker is rumored to be facing Shannon Briggs later this year and is likely eyeing an Anthony Joshua showdown afterward.
That leaves Bryant Jennings, who hasn’t fought since being KO’d by Luis Ortiz in December, Ruslan Chagaev, who had his KO loss to Lucas Browne overturned due to another failed test, and fellow PBC fighter Gerald Washington (who won a pedestrian decision over Eddie Chambers last month).
Because Washington is a in-house fighter and doesn’t appear to have a high-ceiling, it’s conceivable that he gets fed to Wilder. Jennings would be the better matchup, but I’m not sure if Jennings fancies such a difficult fight coming off a layoff and KO defeat.