Written By Eric Gomes: Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC strap on November 4th as planned.The opponent has changed and is now Bermane Stiverne. Initially, Wilder was to face unbeaten Cuban Southpaw Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. During the WBC’s mandatory “Clean Boxing Program’s” VADA testing, Ortiz tested positive for a banned substance. The WBC was notified last week of this adverse finding and took some time to make a ruling. The WBC ruled yesterday that they would no longer sanction a fight between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. Former champ and #1 mandatory Bermane Stiverne was paid step aside money to allow the Wilder-Ortiz fight to go forward. Stiverne has been elevated to his mandatory shot against Deontay Wilder in the main event in lieu of Ortiz’ failed test.
Ortiz gave the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association a urine sample on Sept. 22, as part of the random drug testing process for the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program. That test came back last Thursday and showed positive results for two banned diuretics, chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide. These ingredients can be used to treat high blood pressure, but can also be used as masking agents for harder PEDS like anabolic steroids.
After days of deliberation the WBC concluded: “The WBC has concluded the process according to its Clean Boxing Program protocol in the adverse finding of Luis Ortiz,” the WBC said in a statement. “An official ruling has been sent to the corresponding parties. The WBC has withdrawn its sanction of the Wilder vs. Ortiz fight and Wilder will fight next his mandatory fight against Bermane Stiverne.”
This ruling is definitely fair to the champion Deontay Wilder, however, it is also a buzzkill for boxing fans. Many critics of Wilder condemn him for his opponent selection as champion, Ortiz was to be the marquee name if he was able to beat him. In the past 16 months this is the 3rd Heavyweight to fail a drug test ahead of their scheduled fight with Wilder. Clearly you cannot blame Wilder for the wrongdoings of others.
Yet in still, this otherwise awesome card which recently added Shawn Porter vs. Adrian Granados has undoubtedly taken a hit. Stiverne is definitely a quality fighter; former champion with experience. However Wilder already faced him in January 2015 and convincingly beat him over 12 rounds. Beyond that, Stiverne has only fought one time since that fight in 2015. Later that same year, Stiverne fought Derric Rossy and was dropped in the 1st round. Stiverne got up and went on to win a decision after 10 rounds. All and all, Stiverne has been inactive; by the time the fight happens it will have been 10 days shy of a 2 year layoff for Stiverne.
The good thing is that Wilder was paying stepping aside money to Stiverne to face Luis Ortiz in the main event. So even if he beat Ortiz he would likely have to face mandatory Stiverne next. Now if he beats Stiverne on November 4th, he can began his 2018 year with a clean slate, injury-free, and perhaps pursue a mega-fight with Anthony Joshua without having to worry about a mandatory defense.
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