Alexander Povetkin, who is set to face WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder on May 21 in Russia, has failed a drug test ahead of the fight, coming up positive for meldonium, a drug used to help "increase the size of blood vessels and therefore improve blood flow." In other words, it's a stamina enhancer.
VADA has been testing the fighters leading up to the bout, and Dr. Margaret Goodman of the organization sent both fighters' teams and the WBC a letter to advise them of the failure. Meldonium was found in Povetkin's urine, and he has the right to request analysis of the "B" sample.
Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova also tested positive for this drug recently, which is on the WADA banned substances list. Though there is some debate as to its performance-enhancing abilities, the fact is, it's a banned substance, but only has been since January 1 of this year. Povetkin's promoter Andrey Ryabinsky says that Povetkin has not used the substance since last September:
"He has not taken it since Jan. 1. The situation is ambiguous. The blood sample was taken in April this year. We have been in contact with the World Boxing Council, which is to decide if Povetkin's boxing bout against Deontay Wilder will take place or not."
The fight could still go on, perhaps, if Wilder's team and the WBC agree with the idea that Povetkin has not taken the substance since it was banned. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman says they'll conduct an investigation into the matter:
"In order to continue to strive for the absolute safety of the boxers and for a just and fair outcome for all parties involved, the WBC is conducting an in-depth investigation of this matter. The WBC will make a public announcement in the very near future concerning the results of its investigation and any appropriate steps that it will take."
With the fight a mere eight days away, you can probably expect something official on whether or not it will happen by the end of this weekend, or Monday at the latest. Even with Povetkin as mandatory challenger, this was not an easy fight to make, and Wilder and his team have every reason to balk at the idea of fighting Povetkin on the road in Russia after a failed drug test, no matter how "ambiguous" the situation.