MOSCOW, November 9 (RAPSI) – The Federal District Court for Southern District of New York has granted a motion filed by Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin seeking to stay proceedings in a defamation lawsuit against U.S. athlete Deontay Wilder, the court’s documents available to RAPSI read on Thursday.
According to the court’s ruling, sides have discussed a plan for the efficient resolution of this case in the court and agreed that all proceedings concerning the defamation claim should be stayed until an appropriate time in the future, probably after a resolution of contemplated motion practice. This motion did not affect other proceedings in the case.
The legal dispute is concerned with cancelled bout between two men 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 the bout was cancelled.
In June of the same year, 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 Andrey 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 February 2017, jury panel tasked with reviewing the legal dispute found that Russian athlete consumed meldonium after it was prohibited.
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, 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.
On Wednesday, Ryabinskiy announced on his Instagram account that the World Boxing Council (WBC) lifted permanent disqualification from Povetkin and allowed him to hold bouts. He added that organization will list the sportsman back on the official rating in January 2018.