World heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder has attacked Russia and its athletes, calling them ‘untrustworthy’ and a ‘different breed of people.’
The statements were made in reference to the heavyweight fight between Bermane Stiverne and Russian fighter Alexander Povetkin in Ekaterinburg, Russia this Saturday.
Wilder claimed he didn’t believe Canadian boxer Stiverne would have a fair shot at the interim WBC title against Povetkin because the fight was going to be on the Russian’s home turf.
Wilder’s fears may well have proved to be correct. Just hours after the frank statements were made, the fight scheduled for Saturday night was called off after Povetkin failed a drug test.
Povetkin’s promoter Andrei Ryabinsky wrote on Twitter that the Russian boxer had tested positive for the banned muscle-building substance ostarine.
Wilder didn’t believe that Stiverne would get a fair deal and branded Russians ‘untrustworthy’.
‘If it’s in [Russia], Povetkin’s gonna win it. ‘No doubt in my mind. I know in this heavyweight division, it just takes one punch. But there’s a lot going on in this boxing game, especially with these Russians, man.
‘Time after time you see them Russians, especially in 2016, it’s been a global thing with them.
‘Especially with the Olympics, with the cheating and stuff like that. You just can’t trust them. You just can’t trust them. In boxing, this sport, you really can’t trust nobody. But they’re a different breed of people,’ he told BoxingScene.com.
Wilder speaks from experience, He was set to take on Povetkin in Moscow on May 21 but yet again, the fight fell through when one of Povetkin’s samples returned a positive result of 0.07 micrograms per milliliter of meldonium, a drug which increases blood flow, which improves exercise capacity in athletes.
The WBC cleared Povetkin in the doping case, opting not to ban him 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 fights ended up becoming a legal one with Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella filing a lawsuit against Povetkin and Ryabinsky seeking $5 million in damages.
Two weeks later, Povetkin and Ryabinsky filed their own claim, seeking $34.5 million for both breach of contract and defamation.