MOSCOW, Russia (sentinel.ht) – The Kremlin issued a statement following the cancellation of the Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), Alexander Povtekin (31-1, 23 KOs) fight due to doping. “If he (Alexander Povetkin) was doping, he should be punished,” said Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov but that did not stop Povetkin from fighting a last-minute replacement, French fighter Johann Duhaupas (34-4, 21 KOs), who fought in Asics running shoes.
The Duhaupas-Povetkin fight was criticized as a scandal among fight fans and Povetkin’s vicious beating of the Frenchman did not help to ease widespread disgust. The Russian would apologize to the fans and the boxing world, not for doping, but for the title fight against Stiverne having been cancelled.
“I want to thank the fans for coming to fight. They (the WBC), probably have a tradition – to find something before the fights. I want to apologize for the failure of the battle with Stiverne, I wanted this fight. Once again, thank you all,” Povetkin said.
Minister Pavel Kolobkov’s statement included that “a relevant commission, however, should decide on the case as it is professional boxing.” The minister did not preclude the possibility of seeing Povetkin fight again. “As for the end of his career, it will depend on how strong are his will and sporting spirit,” he said.
Stiverne’s promoter, Don King, came out Monday demanding the World Boxing Council (WBC) name his fight interim-champ and give him the title shot against current undefeated champ, Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs).
To say that I am very saddened and extremely disappointed that Alexander Povetkin was caught again using banned substances would be an understatement. What is the WBC going to do about it will be the answer. Bermane Stiverne deserves better than that. Bermane should be declared the interim title holder. This is the second time Alexander Povetkin is in the drug abuse program and has embarrassed the WBC, causing the WBC’s sanction of the fight as a world title fight being withdrawn. The first time was the Deontay Wilder vs. Povetkin May 21 in Moscow.”
“Even though it hurts Bermane economically . . . and especially psychologically, I want to congratulate the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman did himself and his organization, the WBC, proud by withdrawing their sanctioning of the fight.”