Although heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder and lineal champion Tyson Fury wrapped up a three-city media tour last week to promote their Dec. 1 Showtime PPV showdown at Staples Center in Los Angeles and are headed for training camp, one critical aspect of the agreement is not in place yet.
Fury has not enrolled in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program, the random drug testing program overseen by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association that the sanctioning organization mandates that all of its titleholders and contenders participate in before they are eligible to fight in a bout sanctioned by the WBC.
As of Sunday, Fury, whom the WBC recently rated No. 3, was still not enrolled.
“To date, VADA has not received Clean Boxing Program enrollment forms on Mr. Fury,” Dr. Margaret Goodman, the president of VADA, told ESPN. “Mr. Wilder remains enrolled in the Clean Boxing Program.”
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said he was not aware that Fury had not enrolled in the program even though Fury should not have appeared in the WBC rankings until he had enrolled in the program.
“Fury must enroll,” Sulaiman told ESPN on Sunday. “He personally committed to me to enroll. I will write to him right now. If he doesn’t enroll the fight will not be sanctioned by the WBC.”
When made aware of the fact that Fury had not enrolled in the testing program, Shelly Finkel, one of Wilder’s managers, said he looked into it.
“I just think it was an oversight,” Finkel told ESPN. “I spoke to George Warren, (Fury promoter) Frank Warren’s son, and he said it will get taken care of immediately and don’t worry at all.”
Goodman also said that there has been no request made yet from fight organizers for a specialized testing protocol that goes beyond the somewhat limited scope of the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program.
Wilder has been a strong advocate for a testing program specific to each of his fights. But Goodman said, “VADA has not been contacted to conduct testing (beyond the WBC Clean Boxing Program) leading up to this upcoming fight.”
Wilder, who will be making his eighth title defense against Fury, had three fights in 18 months impacted by his opponents’ positive VADA drug tests.
Wilder knocked out Luis Ortiz in the 10th round on March 3, but only after that fight had originally been scheduled to take place in November 2017 was canceled — and later rescheduled — when Ortiz tested positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothaizide and hydrochlorothiazide, which he claimed he used to treat high blood pressure. Ortiz previously failed a Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test in 2014 which led to a suspension and fine and cost him an interim world title.
In February 2017, Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) was scheduled to defend his title against Andrzej Wawrzyk, but the Polish product also failed a VADA test and was replaced on short notice by Gerald Washington.
In May 2016, Wilder was scheduled to defend his title in Moscow against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, but nine days before the fight, Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, forcing the fight to be canceled.
Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) has a history with VADA. He failed two VADA tests for cocaine in the fall of 2016 as he was supposed to be preparing for a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, whom he had upset by decision to win three world titles belts and the lineal championship in November 2015.
Fury admitted that he had been using drugs, drinking heavily and that he was also dealing with mental health issues. He was stripped of the titles and ultimately did not fight for 31 months until returning to the ring in June.
Fury won two tune-up bouts, in June and August, and then signed to face Wilder in one of the year’s most significant fights.
Fury has also had issues with UK Anti-Doping, the agency that oversees drug testing in his home country, because he failed a drug test for the performance-enhancing steroid Nandrolone related to a 2015 fight — a fight that took place before he faced Klitschko — for which results were not disclosed until June 2016. Fury eventually accepted a backdated two-year ban from UKAD.