By Jake Donovan
Erkan Teper will now pay a heavy price for the path he chose that led to facing David Price.
The unbeaten heavyweight from Germany has been hit with suspensions by both the German Boxing Federation (BDB) and European Boxing Union (EBU) due to a failed drug test surrounding his knockout win over Price in July. The result of the fight was changed to a No-Contest on Wednesday, as officially reported to records keeper Fight Fax, Inc.
Additionally, Teper has been dealt a two-year suspension by the EBU in addition to the one-year suspension already handed down by the BDB, but which only recently came to light.
Worse than the failed drug test result itself was the manner in which it was delivered and the deeper coverup surrounding Teper's past.
The heavyweight was also popped for banned substances in his system following a 6th round knockout of previously unbeaten Newfel Ouatah last June in Germany. He was dealt a nine-month suspension by the BDB, though a successful appeal knocked it down to six months.
In the meantime, he was negotiating a fight with France's Johann Duhaupas, a fight that was rescheduled from last December to this past March due to a reported injury.
A similar development came of what was to be his most recently scheduled ring appearance. Teper was due to face Robert Helenius in an EBU heavyweight title defense on December 19 in Helsinki, Finland, but once again withdrew due to injury.
Recent developments now bring into question the real reason why Teper bowed out in both situations.
"It really does put the situation into light," Chris Meyer, general manager of Sauerland Event said to BoxingScene.com. "Even without questioning the legitimacy of the injury he suffered, Erkan Teper entered a fight with Robert Helenius, allowing for thousands of tickets to be sold for this massive event, knowing that he was suspended."
Meyer and other representatives from Sauerland Event - the promoter for Price and Helenius - stopped well short of accusations, but recent documents suggest conspiracy and deception.
Teper withdrew from his fight with Helenius on December 1, citing an arm injury. Eight days later, he was dealt a one-year suspension.
The time frame makes it one hell of a coincidence. In reality, Teper was already made aware by the BDB of the failed drug test from the Price fight and had dragged out the appeal process. The BDB claimed the ruling was delayed due to a failure to get in touch with the boxer in efforts to allow him to have his "B" sample tested.
Following several unreturned messages left for Teper, the BDB acted on December 9 in suspending the disgraced heavyweight. The only problem: the federation neglected to tell anyone else about it.
The EBU was unaware of such developments as it ordered that the winner between Helenius and late replacement Franz Rill next face Teper upon his return to the ring.
Helenius won the fight by December 19, although his next opponent won't be Teper. That fight is now well off the table, although that is among the least significant matter given recent discoveries.
Teper was in line to face the winner - Helenius - only because the EBU was operating under the assumption that he was out due to injury. The sanctioning body was never made aware of the drug test result - in either instance - or a pending investigation stemming from a raid that unearthed a number of banned substances at his residence.
In addition to the pair of suspensions and the biggest win of his career now scrubbed, he now faces criminal charges for possession of controlled substances.
As for Price, he could potentially go from a knockout loss to a title fight without having to throw a single punch in between. His career gains a burst of resuscitation, knowing that at least two previous defeats came as the result of his opponent having taken measures to gain unnatural strength.
The 6'8" heavyweight from Liverpool was once a red-hot unbeaten prospect on the rise. That changed for the worse after suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Tony Thompson in 2013.
It was only learned during this past summer that Thompson tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, which also showed up in his system for an Aug. '13 points loss to Kubrat Pulev. The middle-aged heavyweight has always contended that he's used it as a prescription medication to treat high blood pressure, an insistence that was part of a lengthy appeal process that finally reached closure only earlier this year, the cause for the two-year delay.
The final ruling in that matter was that Thompson failed to provide the necessary documentation to support his claim. However, the knockout results remain on record.
Price was dealt a better fate in this latest round of drug cheats. With his most recent defeat now changed to a No-Contest, Price could potentially breathe new life into his career with a title fight versus Helenius at some point in the new year.
Should the EBU go in a different direction, Teper's removal from the rankings means that Dereck Chisora would become the next highest-rated contender. Chisora - who is also promoted by Sauerland - dropped a highly controversial split decision to Helenius in their Dec. '11 clash. It was the first of three consecutive losses, though he has since won nine of his last ten starts.
"We still have to see how everything plays out, but our intention is certainly to have Price reinserted into his previous rating - which was number-one - with the EBU," Meyer points out. "That would of course mean, he becomes the mandatory challenger to Robert Helenius. For now, we will take it one step at a time."
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox