By Miguel Rivera
As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz was officially removed from his mandatory position under the World Boxing Association, thus losing his rights as the mandatory challenger to current champion Anthony Joshua.
The undefeated Cuban puncher was also suspended until September 22, 2018 - but he has the right to file an appear.
The sanctions came down because Ortiz had failed pre-fight drug test in connection with this Saturday's event, which features the return of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Wilder was originally scheduled face Ortiz, but the Cuban fighter was pulled from the bout after failing a pre-fight drug test. He was eventually replaced by Bermane Stiverne.
The WBA's anti-doping program is regulated by drug testing agency VADA.
Because the WBC's testing program is also regulated by VADA - the WBA recognized the failed result and began their own investigation.
Ortiz and his team have long claimed that the substances in question are related to the boxer's prescribed medication for high blood pressure. But the big issue at hand, is Ortiz and his team members never advised VADA that he was taking that medication when he entered the testing protocol.
According to WBA President Gilberto Mendoza, a suspension was the right move because Ortiz is a repeat offender with another failed test several years ago when he won the WBA's interim title with a first round knockout of Lateef Kayode in Las Vegas.
"He's been given a year [suspension] because he's a repeat offender and the WBA's world championship committee thought it was the best solution for this situation. It's not the first time [for Ortiz], there was a failed test in Nevada [for anabolic steroids in 2014]/ This time it's an independent program and we respect the results from VADA and the drug testing program of the World Boxing Council and we must be firm, we were talking about this in the medical seminar [of the WBA's convention]," said Mendoza to ESPN Deportes.