Where would we be without the heavyweights? The land of the sane, most probably, but the division is the go-to place for news stories and rarely disappoints.
Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KO) has found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after Thomas Hauser wrote that the Londoner had allegedly tested positive for banned substances, plural, in the days leading up to his fight against Oscar Rivas (26-1, 18 KOs), a decision win in which he rose from a ninth round knockdown. Scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111 handed Whyte a deserved win after a tough fight for both men.
The victory made Whyte the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC belt yet Hauser, writing for BoxingScene, has revealed that a test administered by the UKAD yielded a positive result from the A sample. With the findings coming to light on July 17, according to Hauser’s sources.
The B sample should be tested as soon as possible, so the tight timescale meant that the BBBoC and the show’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, allowed the fight to go on as, technically, Whyte had not been proven to be in breach of the rules as he had yet to go through the adjudication process or faced a charge based on the B sample result.
This lead to some initial speculation among fans that Rivas’s team had agreed to move forward with the contest, claims that were dashed this afternoon when Yvon Michel, Rivas’s promoter, Tweeted: ‘It is with great stupefaction we have learned yesterday, on @boxingscene, the news about the testing result of @DillianWhyte, before the @WBCBoxing title against our @OscarKaboom. Up to this moment nobody on the concerned parties have confirmed or denied to us this information.’
Michel reiterated their surprise to Boxing News contributor Sean Nam, saying: “If we would have been informed of a failed test We would have never let Rivas taken the fight for obvious reasons!” This leaves people in no doubt that the news of the result was kept in-house.
Nam’s digging thickened the plot further as there were hints this morning about a row over the gloves for the contest. Speaking to Marc Ramsay, Rivas’s trainer, Nam Tweeted that the team were kept in the dark over the alleged failed test and have also reported Whyte’s team to the WBC as the: ‘Gloves were chosen after the weigh in in the presence representatives from both sides. But on fight night, Ramsay claims Whyte changed gloves at the approval of the BBBC and WBC. Ramsay said they filed a complaint to (the) WBC.’
It has also led Andy Ruiz Jr. to Tweet that he would not come to the UK for his rematch against Anthony Joshua. Who can blame him as the idea that the UK is the home of fair play has been steadily eroded over recent years due to poor officiating in general and some terrible scorecards in particular. No, the UK’s claim to the moral high ground when it comes to things like this is at odds with the treatment some fighters receive when they come over here.
Eddie Hearn tried to downplay the whole issue last night with a carefully worded Tweet that stated: ‘Further to reports I can confirm that both Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas were subject to extensive VADA and UKAD testing for their bout. Both fighters were cleared to fight by both bodies and the BBBofC.’
Hearn failed to point out that being cleared to fight is not the same as being cleared of any wrong-doing. The UKAD have yet to release any further information through their god-awful and difficult to navigate mess of a website and issued a “No comment” when approached by the Press Association.
Whyte’s right to appeal the result meant that he was well within his right to push ahead with the contest yet if they failed to notify the other team it could be damning and land them in a spot of bother. The process of testing the B sample could also be dragged out. The status of the fight itself is technically sound but the whole thing is morally dubious, to say the least.
It leaves things up in the air until the testing of the B sample. However, the B test invariably confirms the A test and, if that is the case, the UKAD will have to pass their findings to the National Anti-Doping Panel, which could lead to another time lag.
This is Whyte’s second battle over a doping issue. In 2012 he was sanctioned for the use of Methylhexaneamine, which is found in over the counter products, and handed a ban that took him through to November 2014. He appealed, pleading that ignorance led to a genuine mistake, yet this argument rarely works as you cannot establish intent or lack thereof.
As usual, the news has whipped the Internet into a frenzy with one camp stating ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ and a large, very vocal group arguing that there is no smoke without fire. Probably the best camp to be in is the “Wait and see” one as there should be more news on this as soon as the B sample comes through. It seems highly unlikely that Hauser would act prematurely over something like this and Michel’s decision to take to Twitter tells its own story.
This one could run and run, and completely derail Whyte’s career. Hearn and Matchroom’s legal team will be able to throw up delay after delay. There have already been rumours that Hearn sought an injunction to try and kill the story. If the two tests tell the same story it will not end well for Whyte.
On another note, it raises the issue of just how to deal with the widespread use of PEDs in boxing. There is an avalanche of ways and means to legally bend the rules, the odds are invariably stacked in favour of the home or popular fighter so going the chemical route is an extension of the gamesmanship, often coyly referred to as ‘Getting every possible advantage for my man’, that we see ahead of every big fight.
What is also significant is that the news broke just as the sad story of the death of Maxim Dadashev was hitting the headlines. The 28-year-old Russian fighter succumbed to serious brain injuries sustained against Subrel Matias on Friday night and died in hospital with his wife and family by his side.
Dadashev was taken to hospital, where part of the right side of his skull was removed to ease swelling caused by a haematoma. Sadly, though, he did not recover and died on Tuesday. His wife, Elizaveta Apushkina released the following statement via the hospital:
‘It is with great sadness that I confirm the passing of my husband, Maxim Dadashev. He was a very kind person who fought until the very end. Our son will continue be raised to be a great man like his father. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone that cared for Maxim during his final days. I ask that everyone please respect our privacy during this very difficult time.’
Buddy McGirt could be heard telling his fighter that the contest had to be stopped before making the decision for him at the end of the 11th. McGirt has told ESPN that: “It just makes you realise what type of sport we’re in, man. He did everything right in training — no problems, no nothing. My mind is, like, really running crazy right now. Like, what could I have done differently? But at the end of the day, everything was fine [in training]. He seemed OK. He was ready. But it’s the sport that we’re in. It just takes one punch, man.”
It is always a terrible blow when there is a ring fatality. Surely we are now approaching the point where a death or severe injury will be quickly followed by the news that the opponent who inflicted the damage was on PEDs. If that day comes the entire sport will be in huge trouble. And you cannot say that it is not coming given the amount of fighters who either get caught or are rich and powerful enough to abuse the system without being caught and therefore sanctioned.
Amongst all the toing and froing from people not in the know, and due to the limited amount of information that we have, you just have to look at Hauser’s body of work, consider his reputation, which he is putting on the line, and ask yourself if he would have clicked Send if he was not 100% certain of the veracity of his story. I don’t believe that he would have, and that time will serve us up the answers to the many questions that are floating about today.