MOSCOW, February 16 (RAPSI) – The US District Court for the Southern District of New York refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Alexander Povetkin who accused Deontay Wilder of being behind a “smear campaign” against him.

Povetkin and Wilder have been locked in the dispute over a cancelled bout which was supposed to take place in Moscow on May 21, 2016. Doping test conducted on Povetkin by Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) on April 27 turned out to be positive for “dangerous performance-enhancing drug, banned meldonium” and bout was cancelled.

On February 13, the jury trial rendered a verdict in this case stating that Povetkin indeed ingested meldonium after it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). Based on this verdict the court ruled to treat ingestion of meldonium as a fact during proceedings. However, the motion filed by Wilder to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Povetkin was denied without prejudice.

In June, Wilder and DiBella Entertainment Inc. promoter company filed a lawsuit with the U.S. court blaming Russian side for suffered damages. In their lawsuit plaintiffs cite numerous agreements with Povetkin and his promoter Andrei Ryabinskiy, president of World of Boxing company, regarding liability for potential disruptions of the bout and failure to pass the doping test in particular. Losses from cancelled bout are to be determined by the court but it is estimated to be as low as five million dollars.

In turn, Povetkin, Ryabinskiy and World of Boxing filed lawsuit against Wilder, DiBella and DiBella’s president Lou DiBella. According to Russian side, Povetkin’s positive test for meldonium was not a valid reason to immediately cancel the bout. Plaintiffs cite the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) noting that traces of meldonium, prohibited to use since January 1 of 2016, may take a while to leave a person’s body. In addition, they note that WADA allows a sportsman to participate in tournaments if meldonium’s levels are low enough, such as it was in the case of Povetkin. Plaintiffs seek to recover damages allegedly caused by the U.S. side and additional ten million dollars for both Povetkin and Ryabinskiy for “defendants’ unfettered smear campaign” against them.