Povetkin Returns on June 1

Former heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin will return to the ring on July 2 in Russia, according to his promoter Andrei Ryabinsky. The boxer is slated to fight an opponent who is ranked in the top fifteen. Last month Povetkin was suspended by the World Boxing Council, after failing two separate drug tests in 2016.

The suspension, however, only excludes Povetkin from the WBC rankings or fighting for a WBC title – but it does not prevent him from continuing his career.

Other sanctioning bodies have followed the lead of the WBC, with the IBF and WBO also excluding Povetkin from their rankings.

As reported back in February, a United States jury ruled that Povetkin had been consuming meldonium after the performance enhancing drug was put on the prohibited list. Ryabinsky plans to appeal.

Povetkin told the jury in the US District Court in New York that he never used meldonium since it was banned, however he used it upon a prescription of his physician during a training session in Kazakhstan in the autumn of 2015. The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by WADA from January 1, 2016.

The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators). Meldronate is a cardiovascular medicine freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.

Povetkin (31-1, 23 KOs) and WBC champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) have been locked in a legal dispute over the title bout that was to take place on May 21 last year in Moscow, but was cancelled after the Russian boxer’s doping Sample A had tested positive for meldonium shortly before the fight.

Wilder’s team called off the bout and publicly accused the Russian boxer of violating anti-doping rules, without waiting for a decision from the World Boxing Council (WBC). Povetkin and his lawyers responded with a counter-claim of libel. Wilder, who was scheduled to make almost $4.4 million for the fight, was seeking a compensation of about $5 million for the cancelled event.

The Russian side was seeking damages of $34.5 million to compensate for the harm done to Povetkin’s reputation, moral damage and costs of the cancelled fight. Povetkin then failed a drug test last December prior to a scheduled eliminator with Bermane Stiverne. In that instance, he tested positive for banned substance osterine and that contest was also cancelled after the WBC refused to sanction the fight, which led to Stiverne leaving Russia and flying back to to the United States.

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