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Drugs discovered in Shavkat Rakhimov’s hotel room after eliminator victory

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Rakhimov’s team was already accused of using smelling salts in the corner

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua - Press Conference - Hilton London Syon Park Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Controversy continues to build around Shavkat Rakhimov’s stunning comeback knockout of Azinga Fuzile. Fuzile’s team announced their filing of a protest after video emerged of Rakhimov’s cornermen administering what appeared to be smelling salts after the seventh round, and now it’s been revealed that “[b]ottles of drugs, some half used, others still full and sealed, syringes, intravenous drips, bags and tubing were discovered” in the Russian’s hotel room after his team departed.

Boxing South Africa is presently testing the materials.

Not going to lie, my first thought was that this was bogus, as I couldn’t imagine anyone being stupid enough to leave their drugs behind. As it turns out, Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KO) manager Aleksey Titov acknowledged that they belonged to him, but that he was using them himself “to recover from flu in preparation for a marathon in Russia.”

He also gave an explanation for the “smelling salts.”

Asked on Wednesday what was being waved under his boxer’s nose, Titov said it was “an adrenalin used to stop nose bleeding”.

“That thing is allowed. I do not understand what the excitement is all about,” Titov said.

He further alleged that there were no “doping agents” or inspectors to monitor each corner. As smelling salts don’t show up on drug tests, as they’re basically just ammonia, Fuzile’s (14-1, 8 KO) team will have a hard time proving that part of the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

If Rakhimov comes out of this unscathed, he’s in line for a shot at IBF champ Tevin Farmer. We’ll keep you appraised as this bizarre saga develops.