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Sunday, July 10, 2016
(Photo of Wilder and Arreola by Chris Baldwin)
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and challenger Chris Arreola, who fight Saturday, July 16, at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) had been scheduled to face former WBA champion and current WBC number one contender Alexander Povetkin on May 21 in Russia, but that fight was put on hold by the World Boxing Council (WBC) after Povetkin tested positive in April for the banned substance meldonium. Since then, the World Anti-Doping Agency has changed its guidelines regarding suspensions for meldonium, but the test was conducted by VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, working with the WBC as part of the Clean Boxing Program. A final disposition of this case by the WBC is expected soon.
Since the Wilder-Povetkin fight was put off, to be cancelled or postponed to some time in the future, Wilder took what is essentially a stay-busy fight with the former title challenger Arreola (36-4-1, 2 NDs, 31 KOs). While still a popular fighter, however, Arreola has won just two of his last six fights, with his most recent fight, a controversial win over Travis Kauffman in December, being changed to a "no decision" after Arreola tested positive for marijuana. Many people -- including Arreola himself -- believe that he does not deserve another title shot, so this fight will be under especially heavy scrutiny.
For this fight, VADA will once again conduct the anti-doping testing as part of the WBC's Clean Boxing Program.
The Wilder-Arreola fight headlines a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card which will be shown live in the U.S. on Fox and Fox Deportes, and in the U.K. on Sky Sports.
We spoke with Deontay Wilder and Chris Arreola on a media conference call this past Wednesday, and also got comments from promoter Lou DiBella about the urgent need for uniform drug testing. Many expect an explosive start to this fight, however long it lasts, and we got both fighters' comments on that.
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Thanks, Eddie Goldman