Moscow: Hours after winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) cruiserweight title, Guillermo Jones was hit by a scandal when a former champion accused him of doping to give himself unnatural stamina in the knockout win over Denis Lebedev.
Panamanian fighter Jones, 41, reclaimed the belt when the referee stopped the fight in the 11th round after Lebedev was knocked down Friday.
At the time, the Russian was leading on all three scorecards, and had landed some heavy shots on Jones despite fighting with a bruise the size of a tennis ball around his right eye.
Jones’ fortitude in resisting Lebedev’s punches was abnormal, said former International Boxing Organisation super bantamweight champion Dmitry Bakhtin, who was ringside here.
‘I reckon that Jones was on something. Obviously the medical commission needs to get involved. The tests will show everything,’ said Bakhtin, who retired unbeaten in March. He suggested that Jones would have fallen under Lebedev’s onslaught unless he had used banned substances.
After the fight, some reports claimed Jones had refused to take a scheduled doping test, but WBA executive Gilberto Mendoza insisted the new champion had done so.
‘There is a false report stating at felinojones refused the doping test. I just spoke with WBA supervisor who guaranteed it was done,’ he said on Twitter.
Jones himself put his victory down to determination, revealing that he told himself he was a tiger during the fight to increase his motivation.
The Panamanian’s punch resistance was widely praised, including by WBA heavyweight regular champion Alexander Povetkin.
‘Myself, I went crazy with how Jones was taking those shots and not falling, especially because there wasn`t a bruise on his face,’ he said. ‘That definitely affected Denis psychologically.’
Jones’ victory sees him improve to a 39-3 record with two draws and 31 knockout wins, while Lebedev slips to 25-2.