THE December 1 showdown between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury could become a non-title fight if the challenger does not enrol into the sanctioning body’s Clean Boxing Program by the end of this week.
Fury, who failed a test for steroid nandrolone in 2015 and was handed a backdated ban that ran its course in 2017, has told WBC President, Mauricio Sulaiman, he will enrol imminently. The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) – who run the WBC’s championship testing procedure – are also waiting on Fury to sign up ahead of the Los Angeles Staples Center contest.
“Fury is not enrolled with the WBC Clean Boxing Program and he promised me personally, and even on Twitter, that he was enrolling. If he doesn’t, the fight with Wilder will not be for the WBC title,” Sulaiman told Boxing News.
“I have been in touch with Fury and his trainer [Ben Davison] and they tell me it is just a matter of paperwork. They have the papers, they say. I don’t want to put a deadline on it that it is not reasonable but it has to happen this week. That is plenty of time. If I don’t get those papers, the WBC will not sanction the fight.”
However, it is likely too late for any truly effective drug testing to take place ahead of this bout given that is already less than eight weeks away.
“There will be VADA testing for the fight [if Fury signs up],” Sulaiman insisted. “[But] there are two types of testing. In-competition and out-of-competition random testing for any fighter who is enrolled. There is contracted fight testing. As yet, I do not know if the promoters of this fight have requested that.”
Sulaiman added that, in an ideal world, there would be out-of-competition testing for every championship-level boxer but the costs for are too much for the WBC to pay for on their own. For drug testing to work, everyone – the sanctioning body, the promoter, the governing body – must all be singing from the same hymn sheet. That is never the case in boxing.
“If we have a fighter in Thailand and a fighter in Nicaragua, when their training camps are so far apart, it’s very costly to do testing,” Sulaiman said while suggesting promoters should share some of the burden. “But we are very happy for those promoters who contract that testing.
“The more drug testing the better. The problem is that there are a lot of legalities involved, failed tests can go to lawyers and cases appealed. Unfortunately, though the WBC have implemented the Clean Boxing Program, there is no one entity in control of drug testing throughout the sport.
“There are so many tests. Some are done by the organisation, some by the promoter, some by the local commission. There is no uniformity. We are working to improve that situation”.
Surely a good start would be to ensure that contests that are the magnitude of Wilder and Fury have drug testing in place before the contest is formally announced?
“We don’t fall into discrimination where one fight is deemed more important than another. Just because a fight is for the strawweight title doesn’t make it less important than a fight for the heavyweight title. A fight for a WBC championship should be the greatest fight,” Sulaiman said. “Yes, I wish every fight had fighters in who had been subject to out-of-competition testing. We’re working towards that.”