Anthony Joshua condemns Alexander Povetkin: ‘If I failed two drug tests, I would never be able to box again’

Alexander Povetkin
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Anthony Joshua on his opponent's infamous past, while Alexander Povetkin gives his side of the story. Declan Taylor reports

ANTHONY JOSHUA says two failed drugs test in the same year would have ended his boxing career ahead of his September 22 clash with Alexander Povetkin.

The Russian has worked his way into the mandatory position for Joshua’s WBA title despite testing positive for both meldonium and ostarine at different points in 2016.

He will get his crack at that belt, plus the WBO and IBF titles, when he takes on Joshua at Wembley Stadium on September 22 but the defending champion does not believe he would have got off so lightly.

The WBC decided against banning Povetkin when he tested positive for meldonium, which put paid to a scheduled clash with Deontay Wilder in May 2016, because he argued he had consumed it before it was prohibited.

But the governing body did ban him the following December when ostarine was found in a sample, forcing the cancellation of a fight with Bermane Stiverne.

Povetkin, however, still boxed Johann Duhaupas that month and has since beaten Andriy Rudenko, Christian Hammer and David Price.

Joshua, however, says he would have never fought again had he been in the same position.

“If I missed a drugs test or even if I am an hour late then people will say, ‘Oh, he must have been doping,’” said Joshua.

“But I know I would never be able to box again because I would be made an example of.

“I have been tested twice already for this fight.

“I would rather take a loss than be done for doping, being done for doping is far worse for your legacy than taking a loss.

“I don’t see doping as a way of making yourself better, if a person is better than you then work harder, train harder, you don’t need to dope.

“Weigh it up; doping, being banned, legacy damaged or someone is better than you on the night, give them the respect and bounce back.

“I would rather stay clean and give it my best every time.

Anthony Joshua

“When he is fighting me it will be a straight and clean fight. His past is his past and they dealt with it however they did.

“If I got done for doping – it would never happen – then they would deal with me.”

Povetkin, meanwhile, insists he was innocent of wrongdoing on both occasions.

He said: “First I was caught on meldonium, and it was a nanogram quantity. And it happened right before the fight. I was clean a couple of tests before it, and I was clean when tested after that.

“For me it was very, very suspicious. I know that I am clean. I know that I was clean back then.

“The second time, ostarine. First of all, I don’t know what it is. I read about it and they said it is for gaining muscle but I only weighed 100kgs for that fight.

“A couple of tests before I was caught were clean. The tests after were clean. And the time they found it, the time before the fight, was very, very minor in quantity.

“Doesn’t it all sound a little suspicious? In my opinion there was something going on at that time and I have nothing to do with it.

“I am very well deserving of the fight I am getting. I am here for a reason.

“After the first time I was caught I signed a secondary anti-doping full-time testing programme. Then what did I do? Right before the fight I licked some meldonium or some ostarine which would have no effect and get caught right before the fight? Does is sound realistic to you?

“The amount they found doesn’t give any effect so why would I ever want to do that?

“Whoever did that, it’s none of my business but I am clean now and I know that I was clean then.”

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