By Keith Idec
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman sent out a Tweet early Friday morning that revealed Luis Ortiz has tested positive for a banned substance in advance of his November 4 showdown with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
Sulaiman’s message didn’t specify the substance for which Ortiz tested positive, only that the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which administers testing for the WBC’s “Clean Boxing Program,” made him aware of the result.
BoxingScene.com has been informed, however, that Ortiz and his camp are adamant that his positive test is a direct result of taking Losartan/HCTZ (Hydrochlorothiazide). Losartan is a drug typically prescribed to treat high blood pressure and kidney disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Sulaiman didn’t state how Ortiz’s failed test will impact the Wilder-Ortiz fight. Showtime is scheduled to televise the highly anticipated bout between Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs, 2 NC) from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Wilder warned Ortiz during and after a press conference last week in Manhattan that if he took performance-enhancing drugs, VADA would catch him (https://www.boxingscene.com/wilder-ortiz-f-up-our-fight-by-using-peds-again--120691). The unbeaten champion was wary of Ortiz because the Cuban southpaw tested positive for, Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, following a first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode in September 2014.
That test result cost Ortiz the WBA’s interim heavyweight championship. The Nevada State Athletic Commission also suspended him for eight months.
Ortiz became the third Wilder opponent in the past 16 months to test positive for a PED.
Russia’s Alexander Povetkin tested positive for meldonium before their scheduled May 2016 bout in Moscow. Their fight, mandated by the WBC because Povetkin was its No. 1 challenger, was canceled six days before it was supposed to take place.
Nine months later, Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, and was removed from his fight against Wilder.
Wawrzyk was replaced by Gerald Washington on less than a month’s notice. Wilder stopped Washington (18-2-2, 12 KOs) in the fifth round of their February 25 fight at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
A few weeks before beating Washington, Wilder was awarded a minimum of $5 million in damages after winning a civil lawsuit against Povetkin and promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy for breach of contract in a Manhattan federal court.
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Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.