Unbeaten heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder took a hard stance against drug cheats in boxing this week.
Wilder (40-0, 39 KO's) has had three fights get cancelled after opponents tested positive for banned substances.
Wilder missed out on an opportunity to fight former heavyweight title challenger Alexander Povetkin when the Russian tested positive for meldonium nine days before a May 2016 mandatory title defense. The fight was ultimately canceled, and Wilder went on to stop Johann Duhaupas.
Then, in February 2017, Wilder’s scheduled title defense against Andrzej Wawezyk was also slashed after the Pole failed a VADA test. He was replaced by Gerald Washington, who was knocked out inside five rounds.
Wilder was originally set to fight Luis Ortiz last November, but tested positive for the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure, but can also be used as masking agents for performance-enhancing drug use. Ortiz was ultimately removed from the card and Wilder knocked out replacement opponent Bermane Stiverne in a rematch of their 2015 fight.
Wilder eventually fought Ortiz this past March, knocking down the Cuban challenger down three times en route to a 10th-round stoppage despite taking a barrage of heavy punches in the seventh round.
The fight got pushed back to this past March, which saw Wilder recover from a disastrous seventh round to score a knockout over Ortiz in the tenth.
Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KO's), 30, of the United Kingdom, who fights Wilder for his WBC heavyweight title at Staples Center in Los Angeles in a Showtime pay-per-view televised bout, tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in early 2015 and was hit with a backdated two-year ban last December. Fury blamed the test result on eating uncastrated wild boar. His cousin, Hughie, also tested positive and had the same explanation.
Wilder, 33, who captured Olympic bronze in 2008, has no respect for drug cheats.
“They’re the real murderers. When you put something into your body that allows it to enhance something it doesn’t normally do, then you’ll hurt somebody. What you should all be doing is criticizing them, not criticizing someone who’s got natural power and who does things naturally," Wilder told The Mirror.
“How can a guy who cheats get more praise than me, a man who knocks guys out? When he fights, it’s the biggest fight in the world — they forget about all the other things that occurred beforehand.
“Look at Ortiz. In my mind, I was fighting a machine. That’s what I had in my head," Wilder continued
“There are a hell of a lot of guys still doing drugs. But, because the heavyweight division is so short, there are not enough fighters out there. You have to take what you can because boxing is a small window. I trust in myself, I do it right, and I stick with that.”