WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has been granted a voluntary defence after his mandated fight with Alexander Povetkin fell through due to the Russian’s failed drug test.
Povetkin tested positive for meldonium just a week before his highly anticipated May 21 meeting with Wilder in Moscow, and the fight was subsequently scrapped.
While the WBC further investigates the issue, Wilder – who doesn’t want a whole training camp to go to waste – can defend his title against a selected opponent.
“In relation to challenger Povetkin’s test result, the WBC is conducting an in-depth investigation and evaluation of the situation. Further WBC rulings will be forthcoming,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said in a statement.
“In the meantime, the WBC hereby rules that in light of the fact that the bout with challenger Povetkin did not take place as scheduled, WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder has the right to make a voluntary defense of his title as reasonably soon as possible.”
The WBC rules allow Wilder to select someone from their top 10, though he could choose someone from 11-15 with special permission. Their current rankings are as follows:
1 .- Alexander Povetkin (Russia)
2 .- Bermane Stiverne (Haiti/Canada)
3 .- Kubrat Pulev (Bulgaria)
4 .- Johann Duhaupas (France)
5 .- Carlos Takam (Cameroon)
6 .- Joseph Parker (New Zealand)
7 .- Andy Ruiz (Mexico)
8 .- David Haye (GB)
9 .- Bryant Jennings (US)
10 .- Malik Scott (US)
11 .- Artur Szpilka (Poland)
12 .- Eric Molina (US)
13 .- Dereck Chisora (GB)
14 .- Ruslan Chagaev (Uzbekistan/Germany)
15 .- Gerald Washington (US)
Those rankings are for the month of May, and will change significantly once the June list is released.