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WBC rules no suspension for Povetkin, gets fight for interim title

Fighters Network

The WBC announced on Wednesday that it won’t suspend Alexander Povetkin for testing positive for Meldonium before his heavyweight title bout with Deontay Wilder in May, citing low levels of the pharmaceutical in his system and no firm evidence he took the drug after Jan. 1, when it was put on VADA’s list of banned substances.

Instead of punishing Povetkin, the WBC also announced that it has ordered Povetkin to face Bermane Stiverne for an interim heavyweight championship in an apparent eliminator for a chance to face Wilder; Povetkin is the No. 1 contender and Stiverne is No. 2 while Wilder remains the champion.

The free negotiation period starts on Wednesday for their match; if no agreement can be made, a purse bid will be conducted on Sept. 16 with a 50 percent split for each fighter and random drug testing conducted by VADA for the bout, the WBC said.

The WBC ruled that in lieu of a suspension, it planned to rigorously drug test Povetkin for a year through a “specific testing protocol” that he is responsible for paying for and that VADA will design. If Povetkin fails any more tests, he will be suspended from any WBC sanctioned bouts and will be stripped of any titles he may have, the WBC said.

Povetkin and Wilder’s camps have both filed lawsuits against the other in the wake of the fight’s cancellation. The WBC said in Wednesday’s ruling that if a judge happens to contradict some of the WBC’s findings, the WBC reserves the right to amend its ruling.

The WBC said Povetkin’s drug test showed traces of Meldonium on April 27. The levels of Meldonium in his A sample were .070 micrograms per milliliter; his B sample showed levels of .072, amounts the WBC said was “14 times smaller than the threshold level of 1.0 set in the WADA April and June Notices” for someone to be punished for a failed test if the athlete claims he took Meldonium before Jan. 1.

The WBC said that Povetkin told them he had taken Meldomiun between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13 of 2015 “as part of his preparation for high-altitude training.” Based on those findings, the WBC ruled that “it is not possible to ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after Jan. 1, 2016.” As a result, no suspension was handed down, and Povetkin is allowed to keep his standing in the ratings.