Luis Ortiz suspended by WBA for one year, stripped of mandatory challenger status for failed drug test

The World Boxing Association threw the book at former interim heavyweight world champion Luis Ortiz "King Kong" Ortiz.

Ortiz (27-0, 23 KO’s), the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s WBA title belt, had his status revoked, and was suspended on Thursday for one year by the sanctioning body.

“Ortiz’ status and recognition as mandatory contender is revoked. Ortiz is removed from the WBA ratings and suspended from participation in any WBA sanctioned bouts for one year [until Sept. 22, 2018,” according to a copy of the resolution obtained by ESPN.com. “After March 22, 2018, Ortiz may request his suspension be lifted, which may only be granted in the sole discretion of the WBA.”

The ruling does not prevent Ortiz from fighting altogether, only for WBA-sanctioned bouts.

The Cuban defector based in Miami was slated to challenge WBC heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder on Nov. 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a Showtime-televised main event, but failed his second drug test in three years.

A Sept. 22 urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) came back positive for two banned diuretics, chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure but can be used to mask PED use, as both are designed to eliminate fluids and waste at a faster rate.

Following an investigation, the WBC announced in early October that Ortiz had been removed from the card, and Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KO’s), 38, a Haiti native fighting out of Las Vegas, who lost to Wilder on points for the WBC title in 2015, was moved into the main event for a mandatory rematch.

Ortiz’s camp claimed that Ortiz took the medication to regulate his blood pressure, but he never disclosed that on his VADA paperwork where it asked specifically for a list of substances he was currently using. Furthermore, he never requested for a therapeutic use exemption.

“Despite multiple opportunities to do so, Mr. Ortiz never declared that he was using a banned substance, nor sought a TUE prior to the test,” the WBA wrote in its resolution per ESPN.com. “For the suspension to be lifted, Ortiz must continue to fully participate in the VADA Clean Boxing Program at his expense, shall not otherwise test positive for any prohibited substance or refuse to be randomly tested, and must undergo an independent medical evaluation to determine whether he is medically fit to fight.”

Ortiz also tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone following a first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode in 2014 to win the interim belt. Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury is currently suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control for allegedly using the same drug.

Ortiz was stripped of the title, fined $8,000, and suspended eight months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The result of the fight was also changed to a no contest, and Ortiz was asked to perform 15 hours of community service.

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