The planned November 4th WBC heavyweight title bout between Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and Luis Ortiz will most likely be canceled due to a failed drug test by challenger Ortiz.
The news first broke yesterday of Ortiz’s failed drug test by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, who is currently in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the organization’s annual convention and took to Twitter to alert the world.
@WBCBoxing has received confirmation from @Vada_Testing that Luis Ortiz has tested positive for a banned substance under #CleanBoxingProgram
According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the fight most likely will be canceled after the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered drug test showed a banned substance. Promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN about the likely cancellation late Thursday night.
As per ESPN, the letter sent by VADA president Dr. Margaret Goodman to Sulaiman and others disclosing the positive test, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, Ortiz gave a urine sample for a random drug test conducted on Sept. 22 at his training camp in Miami. The results were returned on Thursday, and Ortiz’s “A” sample tested positive for the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure but also can be used as masking agents for performance-enhancing drug use.
Ortiz, 38, who tested positive for steroids after a 2014 fight, can have his “B” sample tested at his own expense, but it is highly unusual for a “B” sample to test any differently than the “A” sample. Ortiz claims it was prescription medicine that clouded his sample.
The highly anticipated bout would have put two of the heavyweight division’s premier power punchers together and many felt that outside of British champion Anthony Joshua, Ortiz was a perfect test for the unbeaten Wilder. The fight would have been the main event of a Showtime-televised card at Barclays Center in New York.
Premier Boxing Champions, which is the presenting brand for the fight, recently announced that former champion and current WBC welterweight mandatory challenger “Showtime” Shawn Porter would face Adrian Granados on the card. No word has been issued as of yet by Premier Boxing Champions or Showtime on the new main event or if the event fight card has been canceled as a result. DiBella told ESPN that it might be possible that former champion, Bermane Stiverne, who is currently on an undercard bout against Dominic Breazeale, could rematch Wilder.
Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), 38, of Las Vegas, is Wilder’s WBC mandatory challenger but took a step-aside payment from Wilder to allow for him to fight Ortiz in an optional defense because there were no television deals available for their mandatory rematch.
Wilder, who has been very outspoken about the usage of PED’s in boxing, now falls victim to the third opponent in the past 18 months that has failed a drug test and been forced out of a fight. Wilder was scheduled to go to Moscow to make a mandatory defense against Alexander Povetkin in May 2016 when, nine days before the fight, Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in a VADA test, forcing the fight to be canceled. Wilder and DiBella later won a $5 million breach of contract lawsuit in U.S. federal court against Povetkin — who failed two VADA tests in eight months — and his promoter, Andrey Ryabinsky of World of Boxing.
In February, Wilder was scheduled to defend his title against Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk, but Wawrzyk also failed a VADA test under the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program and was replaced on short notice by Gerald Washington, whom Wilder stopped in the fifth round.
This is yet another disappointment in combat sports where the fact remains that fighters are still not clean, leading to anger and frustration for all.