When the news was put to Carlos Takam that Alexander Povetkin, the only man who has knocked him out in a 36-fight professional career, had failed a drugs test, he laughed.
French-Cameroon boxer Takam, in Auckland to fight Kiwi Joseph Parker in an IBF heavyweight world title eliminator in Manukau on Saturday, was relayed the news today.
Russian Povetkin was to fight American Deontay Wilder in a much-anticipated WBC world title fight in Moscow on Saturday, but that has been called off following Povetkin's positive test for Meldonium, a prescription drug that has been banned since January 1 this year and which has also landed tennis star Maria Sharapova in trouble.
"He was laughing, there was nothing to say," Takam's promoter Christian Cherchi said today.
Takam lost his fight to Povetkin in 2014 by knockout in the 10th round, one of the few blemishes of a 12-year professional career which has seen him lose only twice.
"At the time of the fight, when this medicine was legal, maybe he was taking this medicine," Cherchi said. "It improves the blood, the stamina; in fact if you see the Carlos Takam [v Povetkin] fight, what made the difference were the final rounds.
"My personal opinion, until the seventh round, the fight was very close, maybe one point for Carlos... it's strange because in the last rounds he [Povetkin] was more fresh suddenly, I don't know."
Parker's promoters Duco Events today confirmed that Parker and Takam would be subjected to a World Anti Doping Agency approved drugs test after their fight at the Vodafone Events Centre, with South Aucklander Parker saying: "Boxing has got to be drug free and that's the reason we do drug tests and we've just got to keep it clean."
Trainer Kevin Barry said: "This... Povetkin and Wilder [fight] for the WBC title [is one] which boxing fans and sporting fans around the world have been waiting for. They've been making this fight for a long time and now for it not to take place is a real disappointment.
"[But] this is fantastic news for our promotion here in New Zealand because the eyes of the boxing world will be on Joseph Parker versus Carlos Takam. This fight will take even more interest in the boxing and sporting world."
Cherchi confirmed that Takam's sparring sessions would continue to be held behind closed doors after a member of Parker's camp was suspected of spying on a session last week.