A few days ago, Alexander Povetkin, known as Russian Vityaz, tested positive for meldonium. Meldonium’s ban was made official in January due to it’s ability to increases blood flow, thereby increasing the exercise capacity of those who take this drug. To those familiar with Povetkin’s career, it makes sense that he’d use a drug like meldonium because he was regarded as a “4-round fighter” by his former trainer Teddy Atlas after Povetkin’s win over Marco Huck in a fight that went the distance and ended in a majority decision. Povetkin was visibly fatigued after the 4th round which resulted in excessive clinching during the duration of the fight. Povetkin’s next two title defenses after his win over Huck ended in KOs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds respectively. He then challenged Wladimir Klitschko, the former heavyweight champion of the world. This fight went the whole 12-rounds and Povetkin’s stamina seemed to have improved greatly since his last 12-round bout against Huck that took place about a year prior to this match.
It’s plausible that he may have began using meldonium around this time. Although he lost the decision against Klitschko his stamina in his fights, three of his last four fights following Povetkin’s loss ended in the later rounds and it seemed that he found a way to maintain his large size and keep his work-rate up in a 12-round bout. Unfortunately, it looks like rather than putting in the necessary workload to maintain his stamina, he may have supplemented meldonim into his routine leading up to his fights. Which is fine, seeing as melodnium wasn’t banned at the time.
Povetkin vs Huck
Povetkin vs Klitschko
I’ve seen many people claiming that since it’s not a steroid that he shouldn’t be penalized as badly for his use of a banned substance or that the substance shouldn’t be banned at all. Others claim that it’s part of a conspiracy against athletes of the Eastern bloc of Europe who make up the vast majority of athletes who have traces of meldonium in their system since the substance is not approved by the FDA or the rest of Europe. However, these people don’t seem to understand why substances are banned by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), the company that tested and found meldonium in Povetkin’s urine. A substance that enhances the performance or gives an unfair advantage to an athlete is researched and banned by VADA to assure a fair ground for the athletes participating. In a sport like boxing, where death is no stranger to the ring, it is imperative that athletes be tested vigorously to assure the safety of participants. The damage to a boxer’s brain is typically cumulative, the longer your head is getting bashed in, the worse it is for the boxer. This is the reason why matches are no longer 15 rounds. With a drug like meldonium it’s reasonable to assume it creates more danger for both boxers.
Banned substances are not limited to just steroids, it’s why the general term is performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). By definition, meldonium is a PED. While steroids do allow you to recover faster and build more muscle, one of it’s more desirable functions is it’s ability to allow you to work harder for a longer period of time, which is why it helps facilitate muscle growth. Because it is only available to athletes in the Eastern bloc of Europe, it would serve as an advantage those athletes have over Western athletes. While there may be political reasons for the ban of meldonium, I believe it’s justified. It was being monitored in 2015 and announced that it would be banned in 2016 due to it’s ability to remain in an athlete’s system for months. It was announced several times in the eve of 2015 that meldonium was to be banned and several athletes such as Maria Sharapova were given several warnings.
Alexander Povetkin was tested several times for PEDs throughout April (the 7th, 8th, 13th and 27th). His first three tests came clean, indicating that he either used a low dosage or no meldonium early on and after two weeks felt it was safe to begin using. This tells me that he used it in April and that it’s not a trace amount left over from use in 2015 like his camp is claiming. Since it was used intentionally, I believe he should be penalized harshly for his blatant disregard of the anti-doping policy. Many fans as well as some athletes have opposed the ban because of how “weak” meldonium is compared to steroids. The fact that it’s not as strong as a full blown steroid does not mean it should be allowed since it still gives you an unfair advantage over other athletes.
When it comes to combat sports, even the smallest edge could end fatal for the opposition. Povetkin should be banned for 6-12 months and his standing in the WBC should be dropped to the 10th-15th seed. If you believe Wilder is a coward for not taking this fight, I believe you should hop on a strict regimen of meldonium and pick a fight with Povetkin (or Wilder, take your pick). Since you seem to lack self preservation, why ask Wilder to take the risk against a dirty fighter? He has the balls to step into the ring with heavyweights for living, is it so much to ask to have a level playing field where you put your life on the line? Don’t expect someone to take a risk you never would. Povetkin’s dangerous enough without the drugs, so go fuck yourself. Povetkin you’re a great boxer, but you should’ve just stuck to doing good ole roadwork, comrade. Enjoy your 6-12 month vacation.