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‘I did not take anything forbidden on purpose’: Russian Kovalev vows to clear name in doping row after barbs from boxing king Ward

‘I did not take anything forbidden on purpose’: Russian Kovalev vows to clear name in doping row after barbs from boxing king Ward
Former light heavyweight boxing world champion Sergey Kovalev has insisted that he didn't knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs following his recent failed test, calling on fans to wait for the results of an investigation.

Kovalev's return to the ring after a year-long absence against Uzbekistan-born Bektemir Melikuziev later this month was thrown into doubt after the Russian boxer, 37, tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

The fight, which was set for January 30, has since been canceled as a result of the drug test furore. 

He petitioned testing chiefs to investigate his 'B Sample' as he protested the decision and pleaded his innocence to the charges, and Kovalev has since called for boxing fans to afford him the opportunity to clear his name.

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"I want to declare that I did not take anything forbidden on purpose, since I have been tested by VADA (The Voluntary Anti-Doping Administration) since 2014," he said via translation in a video posted to his Instagram account.

"This is my initiative to be checked, as I am a supporter of fair sports and clean sports.

"So now there is an investigation into how the illegal drug got into my body. After investigation, there will be an understanding.

"I will definitely tell you everything, how, what drug and who tried it. I ask you not to make hasty conclusions, be patient and wait for the results of the investigation."

It had been thought by boxing insiders that Kovalev's scheduled clash with the 2016 Olympic middleweight silver medalist would have set the Russian boxer on a path to once again challenging for a world title, but the cancelation has left "Krusher" facing a continued hiatus from the sport in which he last competed in November 2019. 

A previous comeback fight against Sullivan Barrera was also canned last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite his claims of innocence, boxing great Andre Ward - who is responsible for two of Kovalev's three career defeats in the ring - had suggested the the failed test was just another example of an ageing prizefighter attempting to find ways of keeping pace with a younger generation of boxers.

"Do the math real quick and you realize he’s getting older," Ward told a podcast.

"He’s slipping and, you know, guys tend to do things like that when they’re trying to hold on to a career.

"They know that, physically, they can’t match up with the young guys that they’re facing. So I wasn’t surprised. It’s unfortunate."

Kovalev previously hit the headlines in October of last year after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in advance of a felony assault case in which a woman allegedly received a broken nose in California in an incident linked to Kovalev.

He was sentenced to three years' probation and told to attend anger management courses.

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