After his highly anticipated bout with Alexander Povetkin went bust, Deontay Wilder was given clearance by the WBC to take an optional title defense.
Failed Drug Test
It can be recalled that Wilder was set to defend his WBC Heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin last May 21st in Russia. But a week before the scheduled bout, results of a failed drug test by Povetkin were released to the public:
— Boxing News & Views (@BoxingNAV) May 14, 2016
Two days before the event, the WBC called off the event and opened an investigation on Povetkin’s drug violation. It was found out that Povetkin tested positive for Meldonium, a drug that is said to increase stamina. Povetkin admitted to using the drug but only up to September of 2015. The USADA effected the ban on Meldonium only in January of this year. However, Povetkin was tested thrice earlier in April and all results came negative. It was only during the April 27th test when he came in positive, hence the WBC investigation.
Not Freezing The Champ
With the Povetkin fight off, many were expecting Wilder to be put in the freezer until the WBC determines another mandatory challenger. However, the WBC did the right thing in allowing the champ to make an optional title defense as he did a full camp to prepare for Povetkin. For Wilder’s part, the champ himself wants to keep himself busy and is aching to give his fans another exciting bout. Wilder asked his team to scout for a good date and possibly a top ranked opponent who would be willing to fight in the summer. The champ is eyeing a bout in August.
A Familiar Name
A day after the WBC announcement, a familiar name popped up as Wilder’s possible foe. Former two-time title challenger Chris Arreola has been mentioned in various reports as the frontrunner to face Deontay Wilder. The 35-year old Riverside native has a record of 36-4-1 with 31 KOs.
Arreola lost to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and Bermane Stiverne in 2014. Arreola’s most recent bout was a split decision win over Travis Kauffman but that was overturned to a no-contest after Arreola failed a drug test.
Aside from Arreola, the WBC’s 15th ranked heavyweight Gerald Washington is also being rumored to be on the shortlist of opponents. The 6-7 Washington would make an interesting opponent for Wilder not only because of his size but because of his KO power. Washington is unbeaten in 17 bouts with 1 draw and 11 KOs.