The heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin is officially on hold indefinitely. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed that news today through his Twitter account.
The @WBCBoxing is confirming that the May 21 @BronzeBomber vs @ALEXANDERACHA is postponed.— Mauricio Sulaiman (@wbcmoro) May 15, 2016
This whole mess arrives just a week before Alexander Povetkin was set to get his mandatory title shot at WBC champion Deontay Wilder on very favorable grounds --in his home country of Russia -- but failed a pre-fight drug test for meldonium. Now the fight happening at all is completely up in the air. Here's what promoter Lou DiBella had to say on the situation.
"I feel terrible for Deontay," Wilder's promoter Lou DiBella said. "He worked so hard. I think if all things were equal, which they obviously weren't, he would have gone there, defended his title and had a great win. When this guy tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, the writing was on the wall and the WBC did the correct thing in postponing the fight."
Povetkin's promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy, who won the purse bid for the fight and was bringing it to Moscow, responded by tweeting the fight would be moved to another date, but it's hard to speculate on that as the WBC is still in the midst of an investigation on the matter.
Things certainly appear grim, though, after news broke that Povetkin passed three drug tests prior to this failed one -- after meldonium was added to the banned-substance list -- which suggests he's taken the substance recently. Ryabinskiy, however, says he will hold a press conference tomorrow to address the issue, firmly stating that he intends to clear their reputations.
So for those who still hold onto a glimmer of hope to see Wilder and Povetkin go at it, it's still possibly a possibility. It just won't be on May 21st.
"All that's happened is that the WBC indicated the fight's not happening next week," DiBella said. "Right now, there's a lot of things still up in the air. We have to wait and see, evaluate all our options and where things go from here.
So instead of taking a flight to Moscow, Deontay Wilder will be taking a flight back to the States, where he, along with the rest of us, will wait to see how this whole mess-of-a-situation pans out.