by Johnny Walker
Once again, the “post-Klitschko era” of the heavyweight division, whose best fight has actually featured a Klitschko brother (Wlad’s epic battle with the UK’s Anthony Joshua), has seen a proposed “superfight” likely fall apart because of steroid use.
Worse, the culprit this time is previous PED offender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), 38, who was stripped of an interim heavyweight title in 2014 after knocking out Lateef Kayode in Las Vegas. On that occasion, Ortiz tested positive in a urine sample for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone, thus losing his interim heavyweight belt. Ortiz was also punished by a fine and an 8-month suspension from the sport.
This time, ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that the Cuban heavyweight was tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and was found to have the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, high blood pressure meds often used to mask steroid use, in his system. Wilder has since said that he doesn’t believe athletes getting caught using banned blood pressure and heart medicine drugs actually suffer from any of these health problems.
The fight was scheduled for November 4 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
As for WBC heavyweight champion Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who also had a previous title bout with Russia’s Alexander Povetkin cancelled when the latter fighter popped dirty for the heart medication meldonium (the same substance which recently caused Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova to be suspended from her sport), he is again faced with one of the bigger names in the post-Klitschko era of the division possibly leaving him high and dry before a major title fight (Wilder did win a $5 million breach of contract lawsuit in U.S. federal court against Povetkin and his promoter, however).
The American Wilder also lost another opponent in Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk, who failed a VADA test in February and was replaced by the inexperienced Gerald Washington, who was knocked out by Wilder in a bout that did little to enhance the WBC champion’s reputation as he looks for a mega-fight showdown with the man who stopped long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko, the UK’s Anthony Joshua.
IBF and WBA champion Joshua is signed to fight his mandatory, Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, on October 28 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, in a bout that was supposed to lead to a unification fight with the winner of the Wilder vs Ortiz battle.
Now, things are again in flux.
According to ESPN, one idea that has been floated is a rematch between Wilder and Haitian-born Bermane Stiverne, who the American beat for the WBC title in 2015 by a unanimous decision.
That idea has previously been nixed because of a lack of interest by television networks in the USA.