PED testing moves to boxing’s forefront as 2017 unfolds
Testing talk is in the air, with positives popping on average of once a week, and as the WBC’s extra heavy scrutiny is netting athletes who have illicit substances in their system.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the Mexico-based sanctioning organization was notified by its “Clean Boxing Program” partner, VADA, that a test from junior welterweight standout Cletus Seldin was found to have a steroid (Stanozolol Metabolites).
And in Manhattan, WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder told media assembled for a lunch to hype his Feb. 25 FOX-televised fight against Gerald Washington that he was “disgusted” when the man he was supposed to fight, Andrzej Wawrzyk, tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol, according to VADA, and was bumped from the bout.
Last May, Wilder’s trip to Russia to defend against Alexander Povetkin was ruined when the Russian hitter tested positive for meldonium, a performance enhancer. Wilder and Povetkin are warring in a NY court, right now, with Wilder trying to get a ruling that will get him his lost purse. As part of the WBC’s “Clean Boxing Program,” Wilder is subject to year-round random testing and he hammered for a long spell that cheating in boxing is a different deal, because an extra edge can be a lethal matter.
With all that in mind, we checked in on some forthcoming big bouts, and what they are doing for testing.
On March 4, Danny Garcia will face off in a welterweight title showdown with fellow crownholder Keith Thurman. Is the ubiquitous VADA doing testing for this feature, to unfold in Brooklyn at the hipster boxing mecca Barclays Center? “We were not asked to perform testing,” VADA chief Dr. Margaret Goodman told RingTV.com.
The promoter of the event, Lou Dibella, who has been in court with Wilder and is extremely vocal about the need for the sport’s powers to start hammering transgressors with harsh punishments, filled me in. “USADA hired,” he informed me, referring to another outfit which handles testing of samples for athletes. Garcia is enrolled in the WBC Clean Boxing Program, as all champs and top 15 rated WBC boxers are required to be.
On March 18, Gennady Golovkin will put his middleweight crowns on the line against titlist Danny Jacobs in NYC. Is VADA doing the testing? “Yes, the testing is VADA, there was never an issue regarding the testing from either side,” GGG promoter Tom Loeffler told me. “It was agreed as part of the deal for the fight. There was no specified starting date. They have collected two urine samples of GGG and one blood sample already. He’s been doing VADA testing since the David Lemieux fight.”
On May 6, Canelo Alvarez will face off with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Vegas. They will do screening performed by VADA, Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said. And does he know when testing starts? “March,” Gomez replied.
My take: The WBC straight up deserves extra props for being out front on testing. Bravo, Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC boss. The sport is better when tough regulations are being enforced, and fans and athletes can know that real inroads are being made to have the playing field clean.