COMMENTARY | Polish world heavyweight title challenger, Mariusz Wach, has admitted to using an unidentified performing enhancing drug for his bout with IBF/WBO/WBA titlist, Wladimir Klitschko last November in Hamburg, Germany.
The confession, issued during an interview with the Polish website, Gazeta Krakowska, comes amid rumors regarding the 6' 7" fighter and possible use of a banned substance. The boxer, however, is asserting his innocence and claiming that he was given illegal performance enhancers by those involved in his training.
Wach lost a one-sided unanimous decision against the long-reigning Klitschko, but impressed fans and observers with the punishment he was able to absorb from the heavy-handed champ from the Ukraine.
"Doping was poured into my system for a long time," Wach told Gazeta Krakowska. "My suspicions fall on the coaches. I plan to conduct my own investigation, but won't make the results public. In addition to the two of my coaches, a large number of other specialists helped me to prepare for the bout. And I really don't know what they've been doing exactly.
"I can't name those forbidden substances because I was forbidden from doing so. But, according to my information, the quantity of dope in my sample was minimal," the fighter said.
Wach will now await sanctions from the Federation of German Professional Boxing, but has stated that he plans on continuing his career despite the controversy.
The Wach admission closes out a 2012 full of rumor and controversy as boxing struggled to come to terms with the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the relative uselessness of current efforts to keep the sport clean.
Over the course of the year, stars such as Andre Berto (nandrolone), Lamont Peterson (artificial testosterone), Antonio Tarver (drostanolone), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (marijuana), and Erik Morales (clenbuterol) dealt with positive test results for banned substances while several other fighters were targeted with accusations of varying degrees of credibility.
Less responsible members of the boxing media ran wild with the stories and relished the power trip of "outing" main stage fighters for PEDs use, but nothing, long term, was accomplished by last year's PEDs feeding frenzy.
The existing commission tests remain hopelessly outdated and nearly useless to all but the most low-rent, unskilled attempted PEDs cheats. The more advanced testing protocol of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which caught Berto and Peterson in its pre-fight screening, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) are still purely voluntary and, therefore, not operated under the binding power of any state commission.
As such, the positive blood tests of Berto and Peterson led to the cancellation of their scheduled bouts, but resulted in no other sanctions against the fighters. Berto was in action later in the year and Peterson is scheduled to return to the ring in February. Both fighters have claimed unintentional use, but neither will really have to answer to any authority since the testing was done outside of a commission's jurisdiction.
Morales, on the other hand, tested positive for the banned substance, clenbuterol, on two occasions prior to his October bout with WBA/WBC junior welterweight champ, Danny Garcia. The strange circumstances pushed Garcia into a position where he had to decide between losing a career-high $1 million payday with a cancellation or going ahead with a bout against someone who likely had a banned substance coursing through his body. Morales would reportedly pass the USADA screening on his third try, on the eve of the fight, but Garcia had already agreed to go ahead with the bout by then.
The one lesson learned from last year's PEDs struggles is that doping technology is far ahead of any current, mandatory testing protocol and that boxing's utter inability to govern itself will also keep it from being able to guarantee a clean product anytime in the foreseeable future.
All of the fighters busted for doping in 2012, Wach included, will likely be back in action in 2013. No harm, no foul. Maybe they will have learned their lessons, maybe they'll just be more sophisticated when it comes to not getting caught. Nobody in boxing can guarantee anything.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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