World of Boxing CEO Andrei Ryabinsky admits that he spent millions of dollars to rebuild the name of former world champion Alexander Povetkin, who in 2016 was facing scandal after scandal.
That year, the boxer lost two scheduled fights due to failed doping tests.
He had a scheduled title shot with WBC champion Deontay Wilder in May of that year. The fight was canceled after Povetkin tested positive for traces of meldonium. The substance in question had become a banned substance in January of that year.
Povetkin claimed that he'd ingested the drug when it was still legal, in the fall of 2015. While it can't be proven when he took the substance, the testing agencies have confirmed that it takes weeks and even months for meldonium to fully leave the body.
Once Povetkin was able to overcome one PED hurdle, he was hit with another in December of 2016, when he tested positive for the banned substance ostarine, which led to the last minute cancellation of a fight with Bermane Stiverne.
That time around, Povetkin was bounced from all of the world rankings.
To fully restore Povetkin to the sanctioning bodies, Ryabinsky spent a lot of time and a lot of money. There were also massive legal fees from a long court battle with Wilder and his handlers.
"I just don’t understand how it could been done differently. If it was purely business, any American or European promoter would have said 'thank you, Alexander' and he would have had to solve the problem himself. But with us it's a different story - we are friends. And it’s not my character to quit. It's somehow wrong to do that, not something a man would do. So we began to understand this matter. And in the end, a great sum was spent, which amounted to millions of dollars, but we got our way, and Alexander was practically the only athlete who was restored after two doping scandals," Ryabinsky said to R-Sport.
“We conducted an investigation to determine if there was a problem in the team. And we didn’t find any problems there - this was not sabotage, there were no deliberate spy-type actions, there were no mistakes. This was not found. Ostarine got into Povetkin’s body in a very small dose This was some kind of ridiculous accident. And it is not clear where it came from."