Boxing match gets cancelled, so fighters battle in court instead

Two boxing heavyweights whose bout was canceled when one of them tested positive for performance enhancing drugs are duking it out in court instead.World Boxing Council heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder, 31, is suing $5 million in damages from his one-time...

Boxing match gets cancelled, so fighters battle in court instead

Two boxing heavyweights whose bout was canceled when one of them tested positive for performance enhancing drugs are duking it out in court instead.

World Boxing Council heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder, 31, is suing $5 million in damages from his one-time challenger Alexander Povetkin, 37, in Manhattan federal court, accusing the Russian pugilist of costing him a big payday from a much-anticipated bout at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow in May 2016.

The breach-of-contract case, which also names the fight’s promoter World of Boxing, as a defendant, is set to open Tuesday.

The six-foot-seven Wilder claims the fight was nixed just days before it was scheduled because Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium — the same drug that got Maria Sharapova ousted from pro tennis for two years.

The six-foot-two Povetkin tested negative three times during random drug testing leading up to the fight before testing positive on April 27.

World of Boxing then kept the purse for the May 21st bout, the suit alleges.

Wilder, who hails from Tuscaloosa, Ala., must now convince a nine-person jury that Povetkin, of Kursk, Russia, knowingly took meldonium after its ban from the sport on Jan. 1, 2016.

Wilder’s lawyer, Judd Burstein, plans to argue that three negative tests followed by a positive proves Povetkin was “gambling that he would not be randomly tested against after his third test,” according to legal documents.

Povetkin’s lawyer, Kent Yakowitz, will argue that Meldonium can be “detected in urine after a therapeutic course of treatment for up to a year,” according to legal documents.

The boxers stayed on opposite sides of the downtown courtroom Monday as their lawyers picked the nine-person jury. Wilder showed up fashionably dressed in ripped jeans, red leather shoes and a braided mohawk. Povetkin, by contrast, blended in with a gray suit.

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