Monday, June 24, 2024  |



Wilder searching for new opponent after Wawrzyk fails drug test

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Deontay Wilder must feel like a practical joke is being played on him.

For the second time in nine months, Wilder’s opponent has tested positive for a banned substance. Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk, who was set to face Wilder on Feb. 25, flunked a random drug test directed by VADA for an undisclosed performance enhancer, promoter Lou DiBella confirmed to on Tuesday night after receiving the news from the WBC. This time, however, Wilder will salvage the Fox date and defend his WBC heavyweight title with a search for a new opponent already underway, DiBella said.

“You’re never happy when something like this happens,” DiBella told The Ring of a bout taking place at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. “But if there’s a saving grace it’s that there is adequate time to find a heavyweight who hangs around the gym and is in shape to replace him. We have a month. I’m not worried. The show will go on.”

That wasn’t the case when Wilder (37-0, 36 knockouts) was scheduled to face Alexander Povetkin last May 21 in Moscow only to discover a week before that Povetkin had tested positive for the banned substance meldomium. Wilder called the fight off with little time to find a substitute. DiBella applauded the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program for being effective and for Wilder once again presenting himself as a clean fighter.

“This is more than frustrating to be in this situation but the flip side is that you’re working with a champion who’s a clean fighter,” DiBella said of Wilder. “Deontay is clean. He’s not a cheat. You’re not going to find an adverse finding with him. In a weird way, I actually feel positive about this because guys are getting caught and it shows that the Clean Boxing Program is working as it was designed to work. It’s working to protect the health and safety of the fighter. I’d rather go through this than have my fighter in the ring with someone who is dirty.”