By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.
Deontay Wilder won a significant fight last week without throwing a punch. But the Tuscaloosa native says he struck a blow for fair play.
ESPN.com and other outlets reported that the World Boxing Council champion won his civil case against Alexander Povetkin. A jury in U.S. federal court in New York deliberated 32 minutes before finding that Povetkin used meldonium after it was put on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list on Jan. 1, 2016.
The scheduled fight in Russia was canceled last May and Wilder’s side stands to get the $4.5 million that was placed in escrow before the fight. Povetkin’s side can appeal.
Speaking to media at his Skyy Gym headquarters in Northport on Tuesday, Wilder said he’s excited about the verdict but remains focused on his Feb. 25 bout against Gerald Washington in Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
“Justice was done,” the champ said. “The most beautiful thing about it was justice was done. I didn’t waste my time. I didn’t go over there for nothing. And I got paid for doing what I enjoy doing, training.”
Wilder said the ruling is a “step forward” in the fight against doping in boxing. He still looks to the ruling bodies of the sport to take stronger action against offenders.
“Maybe a suspension or fine or throwing them out indefinitely,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to, to really put it on them and let them know that you can’t do this.”
After Povetkin tested positive, Wilder fought and defeated replacement Chris Arreola last July. Washington is also a substitute boxer, replacing Andrzej Wawrzyk for the BJCC bout after the Polish fighter tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
When asked, Wilder said he has never been a cheater. He said he has “never touched, never thought about” using a banned substance, “and never will.”
“I advise them to stop,” he continued. “It’s time to put away all this cheating. A lot of guys have been getting away with it for a long time because it hasn’t been on the radar. There’s always been a window they could slip through. But now the window is starting to close, especially when you sign up for the Clean Boxing Program.”
Boxers, especially those with their sights on contending for WBC championships, must sign up for the program, which requires random drug screenings.
“I advise them to stop,” Wilder said again. “If this is what you want to do, then do it fair and square. If you can’t do it off of natural ability, then go play golf or something.”
Boxingnews24.com reported this week that Washington has his sights on knocking out the champ when they meet a week from Saturday. To that, Wilder said the challenger doesn’t realize what lies ahead.
“I think he’s overwhelmed with the excitement of having the opportunity to fight for the world title,” he said. “I really don’t think he understands what Feb. 25 holds for him. He’s messing with one of the (most) dangerous fighters in the division.
“I’m glad he’s saying he’s ready,” Wilder continued. “I don’t want to hear no excuses. … May the best man win.”