Wilder Stops Arreola. Russian Olympic Team May Get Barred From Rio. Should They Be? Should Wilder-Povetkin Be? An Editorial
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Deontay Wilder stopped Chris Arreola last night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to retain his World Boxing Council World Heavyweight title. Wilder got 1.4 million dollars, Arreola got peanuts for his troubles, only $150,000 dollars, and the show went on. Arreola, his face and nose bloodied after eight rounds, got knocked down in the fourth round, and got stopped on his stool by referee Jack Reiss after not so entertaining eight rounds by a tinkering champion Wilder, who played with Arreola most of the way before ending the bloodfest.
The story, which will be missed by most press outlets, is not the fight which took place. Rather, it remains the fight which did NOT place, Wilder versus former WBA champion Alexander Povetkin, and the consequences it continues to having for the athletic community in regards to illegal doping of athletes. It should be noted all parties are innocent until proven guilty, and test results must prove beyond a reasonable doubt athletes are continuing to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), steroids and other illegal drugs to improve their chances to win.
The entire Olympic XXXI Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, scheduled for August 5 to August 21, 2016, is in question. While Russian officials have dismissed allegations of a state-run doping program, as a Western conspiracy designed to smear Russia, the Russian track and field team has already been barred from Rio for doping violations. More than 10, 500 athletes representing 206 Olympic committees, including first time country entrants Kosovo and South Sudan, are scheduled to participate in Rio. The loss of Russia, a major Olympic competitor, would create a controversial state of competitiveness.
With reports of doping at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia still hanging over Rio, anti-doping officials from at least 10 nations and 20 athlete groups are preparing to request the entire Russian delegation from this summer’s Olympics coming up in only a few weeks over allegations of a state-run doping program.
In my professional view, allegations involving the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, whether proven or not, bear no relevancy to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Barring the overturning of an Olympic medal already awarded in Sochi for official reasons, the results at Sochi stand because they are not officially overturned nor a candidate for doing so.
Regarding the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, the insinuations of ten member nations, whether big or small, is not enough to force the withdraw of Russia from the summer games, nor would it be fair or proper to try to do so. It is too close to the games taking place to bar any individual country over allegations of any kind at this point. The Russian athletes, in my view, should all be allowed to participate. If all athletes at the games are tested for doping before and after participation, any athlete in violation will be disqualified from their result.
The larger point is, specifically, how many Olympic nation participants are cheating in organizing fashion, and how many individual athletes are cheating as well? The only way to know is to test them for performance enhancing drugs, steroids and human growth hormones, as well as for the presence of masking drugs, before and after the games. To single out one country in particular, due to previous doping results or present allegations, is an incomplete statement. ALL countries participating in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro should be held to a higher standard. While international opinion does not make it look good for Russia, its athletes should all be allowed to go to Rio and participate, with equal chance and same pre and post participate doping testing for all.
As for the Russian ex-heavyweight champion Povetkin, according to WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, his titular challenge with Deontay Wilder was never cancelled, only postponed. The Clean Boxing Emergency Committee of the World Boxing Council investigates all doping incidents involving WBC champions and challengers. The Voluntary Anti Doping Association (VADA) administered the April 27, 2016 test to Povetkin which showed an adverse reaction for meldonium. Povetkin’s promoter Andrei Rybinskiy contends Povetkin stopped taking meldonium in September 2015, following its addition to the banned list, which became effective January 1, 2016.
The WBC’s clean boxing program will extend to the top 15 in every division. Since Wilder has beaten Arreola, his mandatory defense against Povetkin scheduled to take place in Russia will be rescheduled for the falloff 2016 after the Rio Olympic Games are over, and the big money the Russians have put on the table will be Deontay’s for the taking, which in the entire reason for the trip. For that reason, Wilder will likely fight Povetkin under any circumstance, good, bad or indifferent, as he feels he can win no matter what Povetkin does. However, it is good VADA is being allowed to test Russian athletes by Russian authorities. It shows good faith. The amateur Russian athletes deserve the same chance to prove themselves in Rio, while making themselves open and available to doping testing at any time. All athletes must be held to the same standard to maintain the integrity of the Olympic Games. Deontay Wilder versus Alexander Povetkin should be, if both are clean.