Heavyweight boxer Alexander Povetkin of Russia is shown in this Sept. 29, 2012 file photo. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
Moscow (AP) – Alexander Povetkin’s promoter says the Russian boxer has failed a drug test ahead of his WBC heavyweight title fight with reigning champion Deontay Wilder.
Povetkin tested positive for meldonium, the same substance found in Maria Sharapova’s sample at the Australian Open, promoter Andrei Ryabinsky told Russia’s state Tass news agency on Friday.
“We’re in contact with the WBC. They’ll take the decision on whether the fight will happen or not,” Ryabinsky said.
The bout is scheduled on May 21 in Moscow.
Ryabinsky admitted Povetkin took meldonium last year but said he stopped before it was banned on Jan. 1, and only “leftover traces of meldonium at a very low concentration” were found in a blood sample given by Povetkin last month.
Athletes in several sports have avoided suspensions for meldonium positives under new World Anti-Doping Agency guidance issued in April if the concentration of the banned heart drug is low enough to indicate they did not take it after Jan. 1.
Povetkin is an experienced Russian heavyweight with 30 wins to his name and only a single loss, against Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, WBO and IBF belts in 2013. Unbeaten American Wilder has 36 wins, all but one by way of knockout.
News of Povetkin’s positive test comes a day after Australian Lucas Browne was stripped of his WBA title over a failed drug test. Browne tested positive for clenbuterol, which boosts the metabolism and burns fat, when he beat Ruslan Chagaev by technical knockout in a fight in Grozny, Russia, in March.