WBC clears Russian boxer Povetkin in meldonium case

Alexander Povetkin. © Maksim Bogodvid
Heavyweight contender, Aleksandr Poverkin, will continue fighting in the ring despite testing positive for meldonium earlier this year, the World Boxing Council (WBC) ruled, ordering the Russian to fight former champ, Bermane Stiverne of Canada.

Povetkin failed a one of his doping tests shortly before his title bout against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in May.

The match was canceled, with Wilder beating Chris Arreola of the US in a voluntary defense in July instead.

In a statement on Wednesday, the WBC said Povetkin has been told to undergo extra drug testing at his own expense for the next 12 months.

However, the council opted not to ban the Russian because of “the impossibility to scientifically prove that Mr. Povetkin ingested meldonium after January 1, 2016” when the drug was included on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s list of forbidden substances.

The 36-year-old boxer claimed that he stopped taking meldonium, which was a popular heart drug among athletes from Russia and former Soviet states, in 2015.

Another failed test in the next year will see Povetkin “indefinitely” suspended from all events organized by the WBC, the statement stressed.

The Russian Knight has also been ordered to take on Bermane Stiverne in an interim fight, with Wilder being out of action until 2017 due to injury.

“WE have won. Povetkin has been cleared,” the boxer’s promoter, Andrey Ryabinsky, wrote on Twitter.

Earlier media reports, which claimed that Povetkin was indefinitely banned by the WBC were nothing but a hoax, Ryabinsky said in another message.

Meldonium is a Latvian-made drug, the usage of which saw Russia’s tennis queen, Maria Sharapova, suspended for two years.

WADA said there have been over 170 positive tests for the drug since the start of the year.

READ MORE: Povetkin v Wilder fight postponed, 'I haven't taken anything' states Russian boxer

But the agency came under fire after admitting it remains unclear how long meldonium takes to clear the system, with many athletes being later cleared of doping charges.

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