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Deontay Wilder Doubles Down on Povetkin PEDs Talk

Kelsey McCarson

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Undefeated WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder doubled down on accusations that his mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin, is using performance enhancing drugs.

“I’m just saying I know guys personally, guys that know [Povetkin] and have been in his camp, and they’re saying the same thing, too,” Wilder told TSS. “When people are saying the same thing, something has got to be true.”

As with previous comments made to USA Today’s Bob Velin about Povetkin allegedly “juicing,” Wilder offered no proof to the PED claims other than vague references to unnamed sources. Moreover, Wilder offered no apology for his statements on Povetkin, and freely talked about it again this week without hesitation.

“That wasn’t just my opinion or how I felt. It was others as well, too. They gave me the idea, and it made me speak about what I felt.”

Povetkin knocked out Mike Perez in the first round of his last bout. Wilder said the impressive performance by Povetkin only served to increase his suspicion about the fighter. “I’m not taking his victory away from him. I’m not trying to degrade him by saying it. I’m just speaking my mind about how I feel about the fight. I know Mike Perez, too. For him to go out like that, unless he had sex before the fight or something like that, is just…well, you know.”

The Povetkin camp could not be reached for comment, but Povetkin’s coach, Ivan Kirpa, recently told BoxingScene.com that Wilder’s PED accusations were a sign of “weakness” in the 29-year-old champion. Additionally, Povetkin later refuted Wilder’s claims and denied the use of PEDs altogether, telling BoxingScene.com that Wilder was using a “typical American ploy.”

Wilder defeated the cagey Eric Molina by Round 9 knockout in his last fight. The voluntary title defense was tougher for the champion than many observers expected. Wilder said he plans on fighting two more times again this year, another voluntary defense in September against either Lucas Browne or Czar Glazkov, followed by the mandatory defense against Povetkin.

A spokesperson from Main Events, Glazkov’s promoter, told TSS there were currently no talks with Wilder’s people for a potential Wilder-Glazkov bout: “Of course, we would consider any offer, but haven’t received one [for the fight].”

Wilder, who is presumably already subject to “rigorous, Olympic-style random drug testing” by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), said PED testing is becoming increasingly important in the world of boxing.

“I’m just a strong believer in PED drug testing. I think it should be something that is strongly enforced in fighting because a lot of guys have come up because of PEDs and stuff like that and never got caught.” Wilder said any bout against Povetkin would have to include PED drug tests, something both fighters have already expressed willingness to do.

“I’m definitely looking forward to doing the anti-doping drug tests where they just pop up at your house. We have some real guys that won’t get paid off and stuff like that. They’re just down to business. No matter where you are, they’ll come to test you at any given time. That cuts a lot of that stuff out.” Wilder said PED usage has no place in the already dangerous sport of boxing.

“It’s already a brutal sport, but when you enhance your body to make you perform even stronger or so that you can last even longer, that makes it even more dangerous. Somebody can get hurt and get killed. And that’s not what [boxing] is all about. Everybody should be able to get in the ring, do what they got to do, get out and go see their family–not get in the ring, get hurt or get killed and suffer something because somebody tried to cheat to come out on top. That’s just my belief.”

Wilder’s stance regarding PED usage is understandable. However, while Wilder is presumably drug tested under USADA because of his Premier Boxing Champions affiliation, it’s important to note that not much more about the drug testing program the PBC runs is known at this time.

For example, are PBC fighters randomly drug tested year-round, or only certain durations before and after fights? Has Wilder or any PBC fighter ever been tested outside of competition dates? What do the tests include? How often are they administered?

In my opinion, most PED talk in boxing is pointless as most tests are administered for predetermined amounts of time, often six to ten weeks before scheduled bouts. While it’s better than nothing, fighters could still potentially use illegal substances and cycle off them in time to test clean.

Unless fighters are signed up for rigorous year-round drug testing programs, such as some have done in the past through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), participating in a worthwhile PED discussion in boxing is a non-starter. As of right now, no fighter in the sport is doing that. The last two to enroll in year-round drug tests, Nonito Donaire and Edwin Rodriguez, are not currently participating in the program.

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Pico Rivera Summer Fights See Cruz, Vega and Flores Win

David A. Avila

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Pico-Rivera-Summer-Fights-See-Cruz-Vega-and-Flores Win

PICO RIVERA, Ca.-Along the San Gabriel River on a soft summer evening, Red Boxing Promotions brought another slew of hot local prospects to the forefront on Saturday.

Chino’s Daniel “Cuetito” Cruz (3-0) burst into the fight like an energy bomb and simply overwhelmed southpaw Phillip Bounds (0-4) with lightning combinations to win by unanimous decision. More than 700 fans saw the Red Boxing fight card.

Though it was only his third pro fight, the high intensity prizefighter Cruz (pictured on the left) exhibited a level of confidence that allowed him to attack with impunity for the first two rounds.

Cruz switched to southpaw and had even more success against the lefty Bounds. The speed of Cruz proved too much to overcome for Bounds who tried different approaches but couldn’t find an antidote for Cruz who won by unanimous decision 40-36 on all three cards in the super lightweight match.

“I’m excited, I wanted to put on a good show,” said Cruz, 20. “I’m coming for all of the big names. Cuetito is here.”

Andre Marquez (2-1) overwhelmed the much taller Alvin Brown (0-8) from Louisiana with a whirlwind style that ended in a knockout in the fourth and final round of their super featherweight match. A left hook caught Brown flush and Marquez followed up with four more blows, forcing Brown to take a knee at 1:41 of the fourth round. Marquez was ruled the winner by knockout by referee Sharon Sands.

“My plan was to work his body,” said Marquez. “It worked out perfectly.”

Welterweights Bradley Pena (0-0-1) and Ed Nunez (0-0-1) blasted each other for four rounds, with Pena starting fast and Nunez ending strong. No knockdowns were scored in the fight that started the night and ended in a draw.

Main Bouts

A light flyweight clash saw Axel Vega (13-2-1, 8 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico knock out Tijuana’s Giovanni Noriega (2-5-2) with a triple left hook in the second round. Vega, 19, trained out of Compton for this fight.

Welterweight prospect Steven Rodriguez (8-0) suffered a cut on his forehead due to a clash of heads but still managed to out-perform Las Vegas fighter Ryan Picou (3-12-1) after four rounds. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Rodriguez. But Picou gave a stubborn defense against the constant rushes of Rodriguez and was able to score on occasion.

Santa Barbara’s Angel Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Roberto Almazan (9-12) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a super lightweight contest. Flores knocked down Almazan twice in the last round to clinch the win and get the victory by a landslide.

In the audience was former world champion Arturo Frias of East Los Angeles who won the WBA world lightweight title in 1982 and fought numerous times at LA’s  fabled Olympic Auditorium. Also in attendance was current super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz of Los Angeles who is scheduled to fight on October 12 at the same Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Red Boxing Promotions will be staging the event.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

Arne K. Lang

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Fast-Results-from-Russia-Kovalev-KOs-Yarde-in-the-11th

The consensus of opinion regarding tonight’s fight at Chelyabinsk between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde was that….well, there was no consensus, save that it would not bode well for Yarde if both fighters were still standing at the final bell. Fighting in his hometown, and with a monster payday reportedly looming against Canelo Alvarez should he win, “Krusher” was unlikely to get the worst of it if the fight went to the scorecards. But there would be no controversial decision. In a fight that started slowly and then shifted Yarde’s way, Kovalev stemmed the momentum, took charge in the 10th, and then closed the show in the next round with a scorching left hand that left Yarde flat on his back, gasping for air.

In handicapping the fight, Kovalev certainly had more check marks in the plus column. A former three belt champion and the reigning WBO 175-pound title-holder, Kovalev would be appearing in his 16th world title fight, his second with Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt, with whom he had great rapport. By contrast, Yarde, although undefeated (18-0), had answered the bell for only 51 rounds and had defeated only nine fighters with winning records. Moreover, the Englishman had fought only 12 amateur fights before turning pro.

However, at age 36, Kovalev was getting long in the tooth and in some of his more recent fights he had stamina issues. Moreover, there was a school of thought that Yarde was a beast. In his 30 fights, amateur and pro, he had scored 28 knockouts.

Yarde’s first good round was the seventh and he followed that up with a very strong eighth in which he hurt Kovalev and had the Krusher looking tired. But the assumption that he had paced himself brilliantly proved to be a mirage. As the bout moved into the home stretch, it was the younger man that was more fatigued.

Kovalev backed Yarde against the ropes and hurt him in the 10th. The Russian repeatedly had success with his hard left jab (shades of Larry Holmes) and it was a jab that ended it. Yarde was too exhausted to make it to his feet and was counted out.

Kovalev reportedly has already agreed to meet Canelo in November or December. Tonight he may have added an extra zero to his purse.

Kovalev vs. Canelo, likely at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a blockbuster. Let the hype begin.

Co-Feature

The co-feature between knockout artists Aleksei Papin and Ilunga Makabu wasn’t expected to last the distance, but it went the full 12 and was a highly entertaining affair climaxed by a great 12th round. When the smoke cleared, Ilunga, who went to post a slight favorite, improved to 26-2 (24) by dint of winning a majority decision. It was the second straight win on Russian soil for the Congolese southpaw who fights out of Johannesburg. In his previous go, he stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in the fifth round at Ekaterinburg.

Papin was 11-0 going in with 10 knockouts but the 31-year-old Russian, a former kickboxing champion, was moving up in class against Makabu, a former world title challenger. In the 12th, Makabu scored a knockdown with a straight left after buzzing Papin with a left-right combination, but Papin wasn’t badly hurt and came back to rock him in the final seconds. The knockdown seemingly spelled the difference as two judges had it 115-113 with the third scoring it even (113-113).

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Tanaka and Hatanaka Stay Undefeated in Nagoya

Arne K. Lang

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Tanaka-and-Hatanaka-Stay-Undefeated-in-Nagoya

Kiyoshi Hatanaka, the former world super bantamweight champion, now runs a boxing gym and promotes fights in his hometown of Nagoya. The top fighters in his gym are 24-year-old Kosei Tanaka, who has already won world titles in three weight classes, and Kento Hatanaka, Kyoshi’s 21-year-old son. Both were in action today and both were victorious, but not without anxious moments.

Tanaka, the reigning WBO 112-pound champion, improved to 14-0 (8 KOs) with a seventh-round TKO of Jonathan Gonzalez (22-3-1) in an action-packed bout. There were five knockdowns in all, four by Tanaka, before the referee waved it off with merely a second remaining in the seventh stanza.

Gonzalez took a knee after being hurt by a body punch in round three. But he returned the favor, knocking Tanaka down with a counterpunch in the next stanza, and seemingly had the fight in hand when he dominated the fifth. But Tanaka regained the momentum and scored three knockdowns in Round 7 to close the show.

Kosei Tanaka is overshadowed as a sports personality by countryman Naoya “Monster” Inoue, but is carving out quite a legacy. At age 19, in only his fifth pro fight, he defeated WBO minimumweight (105 pound) champion Julian Yadras of Mexico. He then gathered in titles at 108 and 112, accomplishing the hat trick in only his 12th pro fight, tying Vasiliy Lomachenko’s record.

With only a few pounds separating each of the lowest weight classes, Tanaka likely isn’t done jumping up in weight. There’s already talk of a showdown with 115-pound title-holder Kazuto Ioka. But Tanaka has indicated that he wants to expand his opportunities overseas, following the example of Inoue. There are still holes in his defense, but that makes for exciting fights and a match between him and someone like “Chocolatito” Gonzalez would be worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Gonzalez, a southpaw with a good amateur pedigree, had fought his previous three fights in Kissimmee, Florida. When in his native Puerto Rico, he trains in the same gym as former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him.

The 10-round co-feature between super flyweights Kento Hatanaka and Jaysever Abcede was also a crowd pleaser that saw both combatants score knockdowns. Hatanaka improved to 10-0 but was extended the distance for the first time in his pro career. Abcede, a noted spoiler from the Philippines, saw his winning streak end at four and fell to 19-9. The scores were 95-93, 96-93, and 96-92.

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