Tony Bellew slams drug cheat Alexander Povetkin ahead of Joshua fight
Cruiserweight contender Tony Bellew has said that it's an 'absolute disgrace' that former WBA Heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin is allowed to fight current champion Anthony Joshua.
Joshua will fight Povetkin at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night as the Olympic gold medalist looks to defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
Povetkin tested positive for meldonium in May 2016 and was banned from the sport indefinitely when he failed a second drugs test a year later.
The Russian would be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the WBC rankings after just one year into the suspension with the WBC imposing a one-year probation period on him beginning Dec. 7, after which time he "shall be free and clear of any penalty as long as he does not test positive for any banned substance during the remainder of the suspension and subsequent probation."
Povetkin returned in December 2017 with a unanimous decision win over Christian Hammer before knocking out David Price in March and Bellew thinks he should not have been entitled to a fight against Joshua.
"It shouldn't be even taking place," Bellew told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast.
"Giving time served bans is not doing anything. Alexander Povetkin, let's just be straight and honest, should not be even in this fight.
"It shouldn't be even taking place, but it has to take place all because of governing bodies and sanctioning bodies.
"Mark my words, one day it's going to happen - someone is going to be killed at the hands of a drug cheat."
Povetkin told reporters in July that he is not a drug cheat and that he was suspicious of the testing surrounding his positive result.
"First of all, I have been cleared of that suspension, I have been justified, and the court case that was ongoing with the team of [Deontay] Wilder has finished in our favour," said the 39-year-old.
"First I was caught on meldonium, and it was a nanogram quantity. And it happened right before the fight. I was clean a couple of tests before it, and I was cleaned when tested after that.
"For me it was very, very suspicious. I know that I am clean. I know that I was clean back then. I don't know what happened but at the end of the day, all I can say is that I was accused of wrongdoing when I wasn't.
"The second time, ostarine, I don't know what it is. When I read about it and they said it is for gaining muscle. I only weighed 100kg for that fight. A couple of tests before I was caught were clean. The tests after were clean. And the time they found it before the fight, was very, very minor in quantity.
"Doesn't it all sound a little suspicious? In my opinion there was something going on at that time? I have nothing to do with it.
"The amount they found doesn't give any affect so why would I ever want to do that. Whoever did that it's none of my business. I am clean and I know that I was clean then."