Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday heard a US$5 million lawsuit launched by boxer Deontay Wilder against World Of Boxing LLC for breaching the terms of a Bout Agreement, after it cancelled his 21 May 2016 fight against Alexander Povetkin due to the Russian’s positive test for meldonium. In the lawsuit (1:16-cv-04423) filed on 13 June last year, Wilder argues that World Of Boxing breached the terms of the Bout Agreement and the Escrow Agreement regarding the prize purse for the bout, and also seeks damages.
On 13 May 2016, eight days before the fight, the World Boxing Council (WBC) announced that Povetkin had returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for meldonium at a level of 0.07 micrograms per millilitre. On 15 May, the WBC announced that the fight had been postponed, after which Wilder wrote to World Of Boxing seeking release of the escrow funds held in relation to the bout.
The Bout Agreement provided a purse of US$7.15 million, 10% of which was to serve as a bonus to the winner. The Bout Agreement required that World of Boxing place 70% of the remaining money (less a fee to WBC) into escrow, totalling $4.37 million. It is understood that this money was identified as the ‘gross amount earned by the champion’ without reference to the outcome of the bout, and therefore Wilder argues that he is entitled to this money.
On 17 August 2016, the WBC ruled that ‘based on the scientific and medical information the WBC received during its investigation and inquiry process and on the WADA Notices, it is not possible to ascertain that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016’. As such, Povetkin’s AAF did not constitute an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). Based on this, World Of Boxing has also launched a lawsuit (1:16-cv-04870) against Wilder alleging breach of the terms of the Bout Agreement and defamation, seeking US$34.5 million.
Povetkin also returned an AAF for ostarine in December, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed on Twitter. Sulaiman said that the notification of Povetkin’s AAF came just 20 hours before the Russian was due to fight Bermane Stiverne for the WBC interim heavyweight title on Saturday 17 December. Yesterday, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) issued athlete information on ostarine, after two triathletes alleged that AAFs for the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) were due to contaminated salt tablets or supplements.
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