Wilder vs. Fury Drug Testing Status
By: Jake Donovan
While the promotion is in full bloom for the forthcoming December 1 heavyweight title clash between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, the seeds for random drug testing protocol haven’t even been planted.
The clash of heavyweight titans—which will air live via Showtime Pay-Per-View from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.—has been at least seven weeks in the works, but those involved in the promotion have yet to file the necessary paperwork with Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA). The Nevada-based organization oversees all drug testing as part of the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Clean Boxing Program, in which enrollment for all WBC-ranked boxers is supposed to be the standard.
“As of (Saturday), VADA has not received paperwork on Mr. Tyson Fury’s enrollment in the WBC’s CBP,” Dr. Margaret Goodman, founder and president of VADA told BoxingInsider.com over the weekend.
BoxingInsider.com contacted the WBC in mid-September on the subject when first learning of the development, but the inquiry was apparently lost in the shuffle as the Mexico-based sanctioning body was preparing for its annual convention which was held last week in Kiev, Ukraine.
Several topics were addressed during the convention, including a fresh batch of mandatory title fights and eliminators ordered which managed to generate the most headlines regarding anything WBC-related.
Not quite as pronounced was the concern of the WBC looking to subsidize the cost that comes with the Clean Boxing Program. Even with sponsorship, the sanctioning body is still coming out-of-pocket for a reported $75,000 per year on tests.
A question that wasn’t answered—neither in the seven weeks since Wilder (40-0, 39KOs) and Fury (27-0, 19KOs) publicly revealed their plans to collide later this year, nor in the four months since Fury first re-entered the WBC’s Top 15 heavyweight rankings—was when the unbeaten former heavyweight titlist from England would enroll in the program.
At least until they were finally cornered on the subject.
“Fury must enroll,” Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC president told BoxingInsider.com, through a statement from the WBC press office. “If he does not enroll, then the WBC cannot sanction the fight.”
Fury returned to the sport this past June, following a forced 31-month hiatus due to alcohol and drug abuse as well as mental health issues. The meltdown came on the heels of his career-best win, a 12-round landslide decision over Wladimir Klitschko in Nov. ’15 to win the lineal heavyweight championship, to which he still claims ownership.
The Irish Traveller never made a single defense, vacating one belt early when agreeing to a mandated rematch with Klithschko and then being stripped of all of his titles after the aforementioned sequel never came to pass. Fury twice postponed, first claiming an injury ahead of their planned July ’16 meet and then after getting popped by VADA for cocaine in his system during random testing ahead of their rescheduled fall ’16 battle.
Also in that period came an agreed-upon two year ban as issued by the United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD), who claimed that Nandrolone was found in tests surrounding Fury’s win over Christian Hammer in Feb. ’15. The matter wasn’t discovered until later that year, but didn’t cause a delay in Fury’s title challenge versus Klitschko (other than Klitschko’s own four-week postponement due to an alleged injury sustained in training camp). Nor was the issue even readdressed until a hearing in June ’16, at which point UKAD charged Fury and his cousin, heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (who was popped for the same substance in March ’15) with presence of a prohibited substance.
Fury was finally cleared to fight in 2018, returning in June with a 4th round stoppage of Sefer Seferi. The victory was rewarded by the WBC with his being reinstated in their rankings, issued a #7 position in their heavyweight Top 15 pending his enrollment in their Clean Boxing Program. The organization has dropped several fighters for not agreeing to the program, but in the case of Fury merely kept moving the line in the sand.
Such concerns weren’t raised by any involved parties by the time he faced Francesco Pianeta this past August. Fury won a pedestrian 10-round decision, with the fight—largely forgettable on its own—overshadowed his post-fight in-ring “confrontation” with Wilder, who was ringside in Belfast to scout his then-potential future opponent.
The status went from potential to confirmed the moment Fury was declared the winner, as the two shared mostly playful insults during the on-air post-fight interview.
The fact that it has taken seven weeks (and counting) for event handlers to file the necessary paperwork with VADA contradicts claims made by Fury of his enrollment status.
Perhaps more revealing was his spray-painted verbal response, naming every drug testing organization that came to mind.
“I’m actually enrolled in VADA and USADA,” Fury told a group of reporters during the Los Angeles leg of his three-city press tour to promote the December 1, in video filmed by BoxingInsider.com’s own Jeandra LeBeauf. “They have to know my whereabouts. I have to tell World Anti-Doping (Agency) where I am within an hour every day.”
It also comes in stark contrast to Wilder’s longtime demands for his bouts to portray the image of a clean sport.
From the time he outpointed Bermane Stiverne to win the WBC strap in Jan. ’15, Wilder has been a vocal advocate for stricter drug testing protocol. Each of his seven title defenses have come with random testing existing far beyond the limited means in which most commission tests are conducted.
The unbeaten heavyweight from Alabama became something of a drug-testing jinx, with three of his scheduled challengers all busted by VADA for evidence of banned substances in their respective systems. Most notable among the lot was 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and former secondary titlist Alexander Povetkin coming up dirty for trace amounts of Meldonium, which ultimately killed their planned May ’16 title defense in Moscow, Russia.
Wilder would settle for a voluntary title defense, beating Chris Arreola that July in Birmingham, Alabama, less than an hour from his Tuscaloosa hometown. He’d return there for a Feb. ’17 title defense against Gerald Washington, who was brought in as a replacement for Andrzej Warwzyk, who was popped by VADA mere days after the fight was formally announced.
The one opponent who was caught but would get a second chance was Luis Ortiz, who attributed banned diuretics found in his system last September to prescription blood pressure medication. The then-unbeaten southpaw from Miami by way of Cuba was eventually cleared, but forced to sit out of their planned clash last November as punishment for failing to disclose the medication when he first filed paperwork with VADA.
Ortiz would get his chance this past March, pushing Wilder to the brink before eventually succumbing in the 10th round of their title fight thriller.
From there, Wilder has done his best to bring to light a clash with divisional rival and unbeaten, unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Once it became clear that such a fight wouldn’t materialize in 2018—or if ever at all, the 6’7” heavyweight sought the next biggest event, which led to his team securing a deal with Fury.
What’s still left to do, is secure drug testing to ensure the biggest stateside heavyweight title fight this decade is, in fact, a clean event. Wilder continues to do his part, but that hardly covers all the bases.
“Mr. Wilder continues to be enrolled in the CBP,” Goodman confirmed to BoxingInsider.com, but with a kicker. “As yet, VADA has not been contacted by representatives of Mr. Wilder or Mr. Fury or by the WBC to test both fighters leading up to their December bout.”
With less than eight weeks to go before the opening bell, the clock is ticking for such testing to even serve its full purpose.
When Will Deontay Wilder Step Up?
When Will Deontay Wilder Step Up
By: Matthew N. Becher
It has been two years now that Deontay Wilder (37-0 36KO) took on Bermane Stiverne in Las Vegas and became the WBC Heavyweight champion, winning a unanimous decision. Since then wilder has defended his title four times, against Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola. Out of those four fights, three have been in his home state of Alabama. Also, out of those four fights, zero have been against any major competition. Wilder has a fight scheduled in two weeks against former USC football player Gerald Washington, at the Legacy Arena in, you guessed it, Birmingham Alabama. The question that arises is when Wilder will actually decide to fight some legit competition, to either unify the titles or to just give fans a more evenly matched fight.
In the coming months, the Heavyweight division will be ripe with decent match ups where belts will exchange hands, and or new kings will be crowned. Joseph Parker will defend his newly minted WBO title against the Lineal champions (Tyson Fury), Cousin Hughie Fury, in New Zealand. It may not be a top of the line matchup, but it is none the less a very good fight that keeps the division rolling toward ultimate unification. Also, the best heavyweight of the past decade will see if he has one last run in him, when 40 year old Wladamir Klitschko will take on Anthony Joshua in front of 90 thousand screaming fans at Wembley Stadium in April. So while the likes of a young lion, Joshua , are breaking attendance records in the UKs most famous venue, Wilder will be fighting, yet again, in a small arena in Alabama (one that he will also, most likely, not sell out)
Recently, undefeated Cuban Heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, has called out Wilder on social media.
“Tell Deontay Wilder stop running, I’m Here: I’m ready to fight you on February 25th!” said Ortiz, who is now, currently ranked as the #2 Heavyweight in the WBC Rankings. Wilder responding to Ortiz’s offer of fighting him by saying he would never fight someone that has previously failed a drug test.
Something that Ortiz did do, in 2014. Since then, Ortiz has been tested 12 times, all coming back clean, and was enrolled in the VADA testing program since last September. It now looks like Ortiz will take on former WBC champ, Stiverne, to become the #1 contender.
It just seems that “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder is content with holding on to his one title and milk his championship run in the easiest manner possible. Taking fights against unranked fighters that are also under the PBC banner. Also staying away from prominent fight locations like Las Vegas, or even just not fighting in his own home state may show why he is keeping himself safe, locked away inside his own personal bubble. We would love to see what the young American champ can do when he is really tested against another quality opponent, but for now, we will have to watch him fight former college football players, who couldn’t make it to the pros.