Following reports on Friday that Alexander Povetkin failed a drug test ahead of his May 21 fight with Deontay Wilder, new details are coming out, as anticipated, and they're not looking great for the Russian fighter, or for his fight with the WBC heavyweight titleholder.
Povetkin, 36, tested positive for meldonium, and his team says that he stopped taking the substance last September, before it was officially added to the WADA banned substances list on January 1, 2016. But that claim doesn't stand up against reports from VADA, which ESPN.com acquired, that show Povetkin (30-1, 22 KO) tested negative for any banned substances on April 7, 8, and 11, before testing positive for meldonium in an April 27 test.
Promoter Lou DiBella, representing Wilder and manager Al Haymon here, says that there "should be a ruling from the WBC," and that he expects that shortly. Wilder is set to fly to Moscow on Sunday, but the current belief among "many involved," according to Dan Rafael, is that the fight will be canceled.
Meldonium, as we mentioned yesterday, is believed to increase blood flow, enhancing stamina for athletes. Tennis star Maria Sharapova recently tested positive for the same drug. That said, there is some legitimate debate as to whether or not the drug actually does what it's said to do for athletes as a performance-enhancer, but what's not up for debate is that it's an officially banned substance, and that's the ultimate bottom line in this case, at least in the short term.