WBC Officially Postpones Wilder vs Povetkin – The word came down from the WBC sooner than expected. This coming weekend’s Deontay Wilder vs Alexander Povetkin heavyweight title fight has officially been “postponed.”
The WBC had issued a statement on their website announcing that they would conduct an in-depth investigation into the matter. The latest statement from the group on Sunday is a seeming admission that the “in-depth” investigation promised cannot take place in a weeks time. British news outlet “The Guardian” quotes the WBC statement:
“Keeping the priority of safety and also the principle of justice, the WBC will continue the investigation into the case,” the WBC said in a statement. “Consequently, the event scheduled for 21 May in Moscow is hereby officially postponed.”
This would seem to shut the door on next weekend’s fight, but it is far from a definitive statement. Additional information coming out of Russia from Povetkin and the camp of backer Andrei Ryabinsky reveals more details. The test sample was apparently taken at the end of April and Ryabinsky told Russia’s TASS news agency “leftover traces of meldonium at a very low concentration were found.” Povetkin has stated he took the drug prior to it being added to the list of banned substances at the start of 2016 and that prior tests taken in the build-up to the Wilder fight had come back normal.”
What the WBC’s statement does not do is commit to anything definitive, pushing everything off until a later date. No definitive cancellation of the match has been announced, and no suspension or fine against Povetkin has been issued.
There are reports that athletes from other sports have avoided suspension for Meldonium this year after it popped up on VADA tests, simply because the amount found was deemed low enough. If that is the case, then really the only obstacles become a new date and a new TV deal. Even if that is not the case, the WBC or any other organization would have to be very careful about suspending Povetkin, as the potential exists that Povetkin could ignore any suspension and continue fighting in Russia.
So what we know now is that Wilder and Povetkin will definitely not be fighting for the WBC belt this coming Saturday. There will certainly be much more to come as this story develops. In another developing story (related perhaps?) Alexander Dimitrenko has apparently dropped out of his May 21 fight with Shannon Briggs.
Stay tuned as we continue to monitor each new wrinkle in the chaotic heavyweight division.