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US court starts hearing Povetkin vs. Wilder libel suit

February 08, 7:42 UTC+3 NEW YORK

The court will examine in one process Wilder’s claim against Povetkin and a counter-claim filed by the Russian boxer

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Russian heavyweight boxer Alexander Povetkin

Russian heavyweight boxer Alexander Povetkin

© Valery Shariulin\TASS

NEW YORK, February 8. /TASS/. US District Court in New York’s Manhattan started hearing a defamation suit filed by Russian heavyweight boxer Alexander Povetkin against US boxer Deontay Wilder on Tuesday.

According to comments by court officials, obtained by TASS, the court will examine in one court process Wilder’s claim against Povetkin and a counter-claim filed by the Russian boxer. The libel suit was initiated last June by Andrei Ryabinsky, the head of the Boxing World promotion company, to claim $34.5 million from Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella.

WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder of the United States (W36-L0, 35 KOs) was scheduled to hold his mandatory title bout against Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) on May 21 last year in Moscow.

However, Russian boxer’s doping Sample A had tested positive for meldonium shortly before the fight. The American side called off the bout and publicly accused the Russian boxer of anti-doping rules violations without waiting for a decision from the World Boxing Council (WBC).

The US side is seeking a compensation of about $5 million for the cancelled event. Wilder was scheduled to make almost $4.4 million for the fight.

The Russian side is seeking damages of $34.5 million to compensate for the harm done to Povetkin’s reputation, moral damage and costs of the cancelled fight.

"We are now at the initial stage, solving some fundamental and pivotal questions," lawyer Alexander Karpenko said.

He said that the jury may pronounce its verdict as early as this week, but the litigation is far from being over. The jury will not decide on whether any of the sides violated the initial contract and what kind of financial responsibility the offender should bear.

The final decision may take months, Karpenko said.

The 37-year-old Russian boxer is currently under an investigation regarding the alleged consumption of the banned performance enhancing drug ostarine.

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