By Keith Idec
Dmitry Bivol confirmed Friday in an interview with BoxingScene.com that he has enrolled in VADA’s testing program for his upcoming title fight against Sullivan Barrera.
Bivol arrived in the Los Angeles area earlier this week from Russia to train for their March 3 bout in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The WBA light heavyweight champion has undergone commission testing for performance-enhancing drugs before and after previous bouts, but this will mark the first fight for which he’ll be tested by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
The 35-year-old Barrera, the mandatory challenger for Bivol’s title, expressed concern last week because he hadn’t received confirmation that Bivol had enrolled in the program. The Cuban contender didn’t accuse Bivol of using PEDs, but he threatened to pull out of the fight if the unbeaten Bivol wasn’t tested by VADA during training camp.
The 27-year-old Bivol agreed to VADA testing before a deal was finalized last month for their 12-round championship match. The native of Kyrgyzstan said Friday that he was always committed to taking part in the testing.
“I don’t mind doing the tests,” Bivol said through a translator. “I’m doing the tests and I will keep doing it. It’s not a problem for me. I’m always ready for VADA testing or any testing.”
Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) and Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) are paying for their own testing, which could cost in excess of $10,000 apiece. Barrera has been tested by VADA since enrolling in its program prior to his unanimous-decision defeat to Andre Ward in March 2016.
HBO will televise the Bivol-Barrera bout as the opener of a “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader March 3. In the main event, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) will defend his title against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), a southpaw who owns the IBO 175-pound championship.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.