The WBC has suspended disgraced Russian heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin for one year, fined him $250,000 and ordered him to pay for his own drug testing as a condition of reinstatement. The suspension, however, is not fully enforceable because the WBC is a sanctioning organization, not a licensing commission. Povetkin has already boxed once in Russia after his two positive tests for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Russian boxing authorities permitted the chemically enhanced Povetkin to brutally knock out an out-of-shape, late replacement, Johann Dahaupas of France, possibly seriously injuring him. While the WBC is to be commended for taking a strong stance here, Povetkin can continue to fight in his home country and even seek a championship fight from one of the other three major sanctioning organizations. In 2016, Povetkin had positive tests for meldonium and ostarine (although in fairness meldonium did not become a banned substance until December 31, 2015. Here is the full text of the WBC ruling :
1. A mandatory WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight was scheduled to be contested on May 21, 2016 in Moscow, Russia between WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin. (the “World Championship Bout”).
2. On May 13, 2016 VADA [the drug testing organization] reported to the WBC that Alexander Povetkin’s anti-doping test that had taken from his April 27, 2016 sample pursuant to the WBC Clean Boxing Program yielded an adverse finding for the banned substance Meldonium.
3. The WBC has issued two rulings concerning that adverse finding (the “Prior Meldonium Rulings”).
a. On August 17, 2016, the WBC ruled that: (i) it did not have sufficient evidence to make a definite finding about whether Mr. Povetkin actually ingested Meldonium after the World Anti-Doping Agency included that substance in its list of banned substances; and (ii) if there was an adverse finding concerning any of Mr. Povetkin’s samples during a one (1) year period of time after the ruling, the WBC would: (1) suspend Mr. Povetkin from participation in any WBC-sanctioned events indefinitely; (2) divest Mr. Povetkin from any WBC title or any other rights he might have at the time; and (3) impose any and all available penalties under the CBP without further inquiry.
b. On October 7, 2016, the WBC ruled that if Mr. Wilder prevailed in a trial then pending between him and Mr. Povetkin in New York (the “Litigation”), the WBC would allow Mr. Povetkin to show that the trial’s result was not based on a finding that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016. If Mr. Povetkin failed to make that showing the WBC would impose any penalties upon Mr. Povetkin as per the WBC Clean Boxing Program Protocol, which could include suspensions and fines.
4. A WBC Interim Heavyweight Championship fight was scheduled to be contested on December 17, 2016 in Ekaterinburg Russia between Mr. and Bermane Stiverne (the “Interim Championship Bout”).
5. On December 16, 2016, the VADA reported to the WBC that a the “A” Sample from the specimen collected from Mr. Povetkin on December 6, 2016, tested positive for the anabolic steroid Ostarine.
6. In light of Mr. Povetkin’s Ostarine positive test result, the WBC:
a. withdrew its sanctioning of the Interim Championship Bout; and
b. suspended him indefinitely from participating in any WBC-sanctioning activity while the WBC initiated and conducted an investigation of the circumstances that resulted in the positive test, consistent with the WBC Rules & Regulations and the WBC Clean Boxing Program Protocol.
7. On February 14, 2017, the Litigation’s jury answered YES to the following question: “Did the plaintiffs prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016?”
II. WBC'S FINDINGS
Based on detailed research and information gathering, the Prior Meldonium Rulings and the Litigation’s jury specific finding, the WBC finds as follows:
1. Mr. Povetkin agreed to participate in the WBC CBP [Clean Boxing Program] in connection with the World Championship Bout and the Interim Championship Bout.
2. Both Meldonium and Ostarine are banned substances under the WBC CPB by virtue of their inclusion in VADA's List of Banned Substances.
3. The anti-doping test of samples collected from Mr. Povetkin on:
a. April 27, 2016, tested positive for Meldonium; and
b. December 6, 2016, tested positive for Ostarine.
4. The Litigation’s jury decision was based on a specific finding by the preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016.
III. WBC BOARD OF GOVERNOR'S RULING
The present WBC Board of Governor's ruling is based on the facts as known to the WBC at the time of the ruling. Based on the WBC FINDINGS set forth above, the WBC hereby rules as follows:
1. Pursuant to the August 17, 2016, WBC Ruling, the WBC hereby rules that Mr. Povetkin shall be suspended for participating in any WBC-sanctioned bouts indefinitely;
2. Mr. Povetkin shall pay a $250,000 USD fine to the WBC;
3. VADA, pursuant to the WBC CBP, will design a specific testing protocol for Mr. Povetkin at Mr. Povetkin’s own cost and expense. The VADA-designed protocol will commence as soon as feasible after this ruling and will continue for one year thereafter;
4. Mr. Povetkin will be able to apply for reinstatement into the WBC after the one-year anniversary of this ruling. At that time, if the results of every anti-doping test he has taken pursuant to the testing protocol set forth in paragraph III.3. above are negative, the WBC will consider deferring the remaining of his suspension during which time he would be placed in a probationary status and would continue to undergo testing as set forth in paragraph IV.4. above; and
5. The WBC will provide Mr. Povetkin the opportunity to submit additional evidence at a time and in a form the WBC will determine at its sole discretion concerning his positive test for Ostarine. The WBC will consider any additional evidence it receives and it might issue a supplemental ruling based on information and materials Mr. Povetkin submits.