Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin: Convicted dopers should not return – Tony Bellew

Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin will make their ring walk at 21:50 BST on Saturday
Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday 22 September
Coverage: Live text commentary from 20:00 BST on the BBC Sport website

Tony Bellew says it is an “absolute disgrace” boxers convicted of doping are allowed back after serving bans – and he predicts a fighter will be “killed at the hands of a drug cheat”.

It comes as Alexander Povetkin – who has had two doping convictions – fights Anthony Joshua at Wembley on Saturday.

Joshua’s WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles are on the line against the mandatory challenger from Russia.

“It shouldn’t be even taking place,” said fellow British fighter Bellew.

Povetkin – the 2004 Olympic super heavyweight champion – first tested positive for meldonium in May 2016, and was banned from the sport indefinitely when he failed a second drugs test the following year.

At the time of his first failed test, Povetkin said he had stopped taking meldonium in 2015, before it became a banned substance.

In November 2017, the 39-year-old’s ban was reduced to a year and Bellew, the former WBC cruiserweight world champion, says boxing authorities do not take doping “seriously enough”.

“It is an absolute disgrace that these guys are getting to fight,” the 35-year-old 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.”

He added: “Mark my words, one day it’s going to happen – someone is going to be killed at the hands of a drug cheat.”

Saturday’s bout, which should draw a crowd of about 80,000, will be 28-year-old London 2012 Olympic champion Joshua’s fourth consecutive stadium fight.

The ring walk is expected to be at about 21:50 BST.

Bellew said: “I’m pretty sure Anthony Joshua wouldn’t choose to face Alexander Povetkin, and not because he’s scared of him or thinks he’s a brilliant fighter – because Anthony’s shown that he’ll face anybody.

“Why would you want to face a cheat when you don’t have to? You know this man is capable of cheating. It’s not been a one-off mistake.”

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