European Lightheavyweight Champion Igor Mikhalkin tested positive for Meldonium after his title defense against Patrick Bois in Paris on March 12th. The cardiovascular medicine which is in wide use and commercially available at drug stores in Russia has been added to the WADA list of banned substances this January. It became famous through tennis superstar Maria Sharapova who admitted taking it for years and being unaware that the WADA had banned it.
“It is true that I took Meldonium”, said Mikhalkin. “Most athletes in Russia have been using it for many years and it hasn’t been a problem until some months ago. I did not realize that it has been banned. When I heard it, I stopped taking it immediately but it seems to take a while until it is gone from the system.”
The 30-year-old Russian will not look for excuses but accept any penalty and suspension he is facing.
“Ignorance is no excuse”, adds Mikhalkin. “I made a mistake and I regret it. I stand for clean sport and I will never again take any medication without reassuring myself that it is okay to take it. I hope that I will not be suspended too long.”
Said Mikhalkin’s promoter Erol Ceylan states, “Doping is no trivial offense and we have to fight it by all means. But Igor has always been a fair sportsman. This is a special case because Meldonium has been perfectly legal until end of December 2015. We understand that he has to be punished for his offense. He acknowledges that he made a mistake and will accept the sentence whatever it may be.”
By openly addressing the case, the whole team of EC Boxing wants to make clear that they distance themselves from doping and cheating in any way. There will also be no request to open the B sample.
Now it is up to the European Boxing Union (EBU) in accordance with the French and the German Commission to decide how they will deal with Mikhalkin who was originally scheduled to defend his EBU championship in Paris on May 27thagainst Mehdi Amar.