NEW YORK (November 1, 2005) – Attorneys for World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John Ruiz announced today that a lawsuit has been filed on Ruiz's behalf against James Toney based on Toney's use of illegal performance-enhancing steroids in advance of their April 30, 2005 title fight. In the lawsuit, Ruiz claims that Toney's use of Nandrolone, one of the most powerful performance-enhancing substances available, dramatically enhanced Toney's ability to fight by artificially augmenting his strength, speed and power. As a direct result of Toney's doping, Ruiz lost a fight that he otherwise would not have lost and sustained physical injuries that he otherwise would not have sustained. Notwithstanding that the judges' decision in favor of Toney on April 30 was overturned by the WBA after Toney's drug test subsequently came back positive for illegal steroids, Ruiz has also incurred substantial financial damages as a result of initially losing a decision in a fight that he would have won had Toney not cheated.
Several days after the April 30 fight, Toney's mandatory drug test came back with a positive result, reflecting the presence of Nandrolone in Toney's bloodstream. Use of Nandrolone is illegal under federal law, and Nandrolone is classified as a Schedule III drug under 21 U.S.C. § 812. On May 16, 2005, the WBA sanctioned Toney for his illegal use of steroids, precluding him from fighting for a WBA title for two years. The New York State Athletic Commission also levied their maximum applicable sanction against Toney, which included a $10,000 fine.
Ruiz made the following comment in connection with the lawsuit: "The problem of steroids in the sport of boxing must be addressed. This lawsuit is an effort to push this process forward. Boxers risk their lives every time they step into the ring. The illegal use of steroids increases a boxer's risk in a way that is simply unacceptable." Since the April 30 fight, Ruiz has called for the WBA and other boxing organizations to improve their standards, testing protocols and penalties to prevent and deter the use of anabolic steroids and other banned performance enhancing substances.
Ruiz's attorney, Aaron Marks of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP in New York, made the following comment in connection with the lawsuit commenced by his firm: "This case more than underscores the epidemic problem in sports today caused by athletes' abuse of performance-enhancing steroids. This is not merely a situation where an athlete uses steroids in order to hit a baseball farther. Here, James Toney used illegal steroids to augment his speed and power so that he could hit another boxer harder. This could mean life or death for a competitor."
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