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NEW YORK Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay
Wilder has won a fight with Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin –
not in the ring, but in the courthouse – in a trial over a title
bout that was called off after the Russian tested positive for a
After less than an hour, a federal jury in Manhattan on
Monday ruled in favor of Wilder in a civil trial, finding that
Povetkin ingested meldonium after a World Anti-Doping Agency ban
of the drug went into effect in January 2016.
That question had become key to dueling lawsuits the boxers
had filed against each other over the championship boxing match
scheduled for May 21 in Moscow, which was called off after
Povetkin tested positive on April 27 for meldonium.
Lawyers for Wilder and promoter DiBella Entertainment Inc
had argued that Povetkin’s positive urine test came after three
negative ones earlier in April, which meant that the Russian
took the drug after passing the earlier tests.
But lawyers for Povetkin and promoter Andrew Ryabinskiy’s
company, World of Boxing LLC, said he had, like many other
athletes, taken meldonium at a doctor’s direction before the
World Anti-Doping Agency had even announced plans to ban it.
Judd Burstein, a lawyer for Wilder, said he was “extremely
happy” with the verdict. Povetkin’s lawyer, Kent Yalowitz, on
Monday called the verdict an “outrageous miscarriage of justice”
and indicated he would seek to have it thrown out.
The lawsuits came after the World Boxing Council announced
on May 13 that Povetkin had tested positive for meldonium and
subsequently announced the postponement of his bout with
In June, Wilder and DiBella sued Povetkin and Ryabinskiy’s
World of Boxing LLC, saying they were owed at least $5 million
for the defendants’ breach of a contract requiring Povetkin to
be produced for the match.
Povetkin and World of Boxing soon after countersued, seeking
$34.5 million for what they said was Wilder’s own breach of
contract for walking away from the fight and defamation for
engaging in a “smear campaign.”
The World Boxing Council in August announced that, based on
scientific and medical information it received, it was not
possible to determine whether Povetkin ingested meldonium after
Jan. 1, 2016, when it was officially banned.
In December, a super heavyweight title bout between Povetkin
and Haitian-born Canadian Bermane Stiverne was called off after
the Russian tested positive for a different banned substance,
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