Undefeated WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder doubled down on accusations that his mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin, is using performance enhancing drugs.
“I’m just saying I know guys personally, guys that know [Povetkin] and have been in his camp, and they’re saying the same thing, too,” Wilder told TSS. “When people are saying the same thing, something has got to be true.”
As with previous comments made to USA Today’s Bob Velin about Povetkin allegedly “juicing,” Wilder offered no proof to the PED claims other than vague references to unnamed sources. Moreover, Wilder offered no apology for his statements on Povetkin, and freely talked about it again this week without hesitation.
“That wasn’t just my opinion or how I felt. It was others as well, too. They gave me the idea, and it made me speak about what I felt.”
Povetkin knocked out Mike Perez in the first round of his last bout. Wilder said the impressive performance by Povetkin only served to increase his suspicion about the fighter. “I’m not taking his victory away from him. I’m not trying to degrade him by saying it. I’m just speaking my mind about how I feel about the fight. I know Mike Perez, too. For him to go out like that, unless he had sex before the fight or something like that, is just…well, you know.”
The Povetkin camp could not be reached for comment, but Povetkin’s coach, Ivan Kirpa, recently told BoxingScene.com that Wilder’s PED accusations were a sign of “weakness” in the 29-year-old champion. Additionally, Povetkin later refuted Wilder’s claims and denied the use of PEDs altogether, telling BoxingScene.com that Wilder was using a “typical American ploy.”
Wilder defeated the cagey Eric Molina by Round 9 knockout in his last fight. The voluntary title defense was tougher for the champion than many observers expected. Wilder said he plans on fighting two more times again this year, another voluntary defense in September against either Lucas Browne or Czar Glazkov, followed by the mandatory defense against Povetkin.
A spokesperson from Main Events, Glazkov’s promoter, told TSS there were currently no talks with Wilder’s people for a potential Wilder-Glazkov bout: “Of course, we would consider any offer, but haven’t received one [for the fight].”
Wilder, who is presumably already subject to “rigorous, Olympic-style random drug testing” by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said PED testing is becoming increasingly important in the world of boxing.
“I’m just a strong believer in PED drug testing. I think it should be something that is strongly enforced in fighting because a lot of guys have come up because of PEDs and stuff like that and never got caught.” Wilder said any bout against Povetkin would have to include PED drug tests, something both fighters have already expressed willingness to do.
“I’m definitely looking forward to doing the anti-doping drug tests where they just pop up at your house. We have some real guys that won’t get paid off and stuff like that. They’re just down to business. No matter where you are, they’ll come to test you at any given time. That cuts a lot of that stuff out.” Wilder said PED usage has no place in the already dangerous sport of boxing.
“It’s already a brutal sport, but when you enhance your body to make you perform even stronger or so that you can last even longer, that makes it even more dangerous. Somebody can get hurt and get killed. And that’s not what [boxing] is all about. Everybody should be able to get in the ring, do what they got to do, get out and go see their family–not get in the ring, get hurt or get killed and suffer something because somebody tried to cheat to come out on top. That’s just my belief.”
Wilder’s stance regarding PED usage is understandable. However, while Wilder is presumably drug tested under USADA because of his Premier Boxing Champions affiliation, it’s important to note that not much more about the drug testing program the PBC runs is known at this time.
For example, are PBC fighters randomly drug tested year-round, or only certain durations before and after fights? Has Wilder or any PBC fighter ever been tested outside of competition dates? What do the tests include? How often are they administered?
In my opinion, most PED talk in boxing is pointless as most tests are administered for predetermined amounts of time, often six to ten weeks before scheduled bouts. While it’s better than nothing, fighters could still potentially use illegal substances and cycle off them in time to test clean.
Unless fighters are signed up for rigorous year-round drug testing programs, such as some have done in the past through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), participating in a worthwhile PED discussion in boxing is a non-starter. As of right now, no fighter in the sport is doing that. The last two to enroll in year-round drug tests, Nonito Donaire and Edwin Rodriguez, are not currently participating in the program.