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Deontay Wilder sues Alexander Povetkin and WOB for breach of contract

Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin will finally be duking it out - only in a courtroom instead of a boxing ring.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

As many anticipated, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella have filed suit against Alexander Povetkin and his promoter Andrey Ryabinskiy of World of Boxing (WOB) for their fight falling apart over Povetkin's failed drug test. As is being reported by, who obtained a copy of the lawsuit, Wilder and DiBella filed their complaint in the Southern District of New York and are accusing Povektin and his promoter of breach of contract for their scheduled May 21st fight not taking place after Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.

And although Povetkin and his promoter reside outside of the country, the lawsuit claims "the defendants have explicitly submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of this court."

Both Wilder and DiBella Entertainment are seeking at least $5M in damages, resulting from Wilder's would-be purse of $4,369,365 held in an escrow account by Ryabinskiy (after he won the purse bid for the fight), and damages to be determined at trial for breaking the escrow agreement.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that WOB must be held to the same standard as Don King when he was forced to pay WOB $2M when his fighter Guillermo Jones was unable to participate in 2014 cruiserweight title fight against Denis Lebedev after having taken banned substance furosemide. The lawsuit additionally claims that Povetkin and Ryabinskiy conspired to take the banned substance and that negotiations leading up to the fight are indicative of such.

To that end, the lawsuit claims that Ryabinskiy's initial proposed agreement in early March (which Wilder and DiBella considered inadequate) required Wilder's blood and urine samples to be tested at the Laboratoire Suisse d'Analyse du Dopage in Switzerland, but was "silent as to where Povetkin’s samples would be tested," the suit alleges.

Furthermore, there was another provision in that proposal that if Wilder failed a drug test that he would have to pay a fine to WOB "equal to 100% of Wilder's purse, but there was no reciprocal provision for WOB if Povetkin tested positive."

So, according to the lawsuit, while DiBella and Ryabinskiy negotiated that initial proposal, DiBella's company received some information that Povetkin was engaged in some kind of funny business. They were made aware that Povetkin had traveled to Spain which "is notorious as an epicenter of doping," as stated in their complaint. Wilder and DiBella believe that all of this suggests there was a conspiracy for Povetkin to take the banned substance all along.

Finally, the lawsuit claims that on June 1st WOB refused to release their purse to Wilder while "instead threatening to sue Wilder for $2.5 million in liquidated damages if Wilder did not immediately agree to allow the Escrow Agent to return the deposit to WOB..." As of the date the lawsuit was filed, WOB maintains that they are entitled to be returned Wilder's purse held in the escrow account, according to the complaint.

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