By Luke Furman
Promoter Andrei Ryabinsky of World of Boxing is ready to come out swinging for his fighter, Olympic gold medal winner and former WBA 'regular' heavyweight world champion Alexander Povetkin.
Povetkin was scheduled to face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on May 21st, but it was postponed by the World Boxing Council when the sanctioning body revealed that Povetkin tested positive for banned substance meldonium in a late April pre-fight drug test. Wilder was given permission to hold a voluntary defense, which is being planned for July.
Povetkin and his promoter opened up his B-sample but that also came up positive for the banned substance. However, Povetkin was tested once again, by VADA, on May 17th and came up negative for any substances. He was tested five times during the protocol and only came up positive once.
The WBC has yet to make an official ruling on Povetkin. They are continuing their investigation. Povetkin will either remain in the mandatory position or get removed and suffer some form of punishment from the sanctioning body.
According to World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman, his organization will issue a ruling by the end of the month.
Last week, Ryabinsky had threatened to move forward with a defamation lawsuit against Wilder and certain members of press. He still intends to push through with those plans, with a lawsuit likely to be filed in New York City.
"Right now regarding Alexander and the meldonium, there is an ongoing investigation. The main factor lies in the fact that no one has the right to accuse an athlete at a time when there is an investigation and the guilt has not been proven. At the same time a huge number of American journalists and our opponents as well, made defamatory comments on this subject quite a lot. We believe that they spoke out of turn quite a bit," Ryabinsky said.
"Right now we're preparing claims to be filed in court, and they will be served. We will ask [the sued parties] to pay us compensation for [their claims], and we will also ask them to publicly apologize. Why was only one of the five tests positive? This is the situation with meldonium, because the behavior of the drug is not fully understood to this day. WADA itself recognizes this fact and right now they carrying out additional studies. We plan to organize that fight with Wilder before the end of this year."
Wilder and his team are also threatening legal action. Wilder wants his guaranteed purse of 4.6 million or else he will purse the matter in court.
Povetkin has a record of 30 wins (22 by KO) and suffered one defeat. Wilder has 36 fights in all, with 35 victories by knockout.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org