Michel Rivera was granted mercy for his drug testing suspension.
The Dominican lightweight was issued a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which stemmed from a positive drug test surrounding his lopsided defeat to Frank Martin last December 17 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The five-panel commission unanimously agreed on the proposed adjudication agreement in lieu of a standard nine-month suspension for such infraction.
Rivera tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene, both of which are on the banned list under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. Hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene are both considered diuretics and largely identified as water pills. The combination of the two help reduce fluid retention and reduce blood pressure.
The matter was under investigation by Nevada commission officials through Tuesday’s monthly agenda hearing. Along with the light suspension issued, Rivera was also hit with a $10,000 fine, a reduction from the standard fifteen-percent forfeiture of the contracted purse. The boxer is also required to pay $448.25 in legal fees.
While the official suspension will end June 17, Rivera will remain subject to random drug testing to satisfy the terms of the agreement as per Nevada commission standard.
Rivera contended that he ingested the substances unwillingly after being duped into believing he was taking vitamins and supplements. The claim was met with sympathy, though also with the acknowledgement that all athletes are responsible for what enters their body.
The development further crushed any momentum gained by Rivera (24-1, 14KOs), who—along with Martin—enjoyed a three-fight 2022 campaign. Both boxers were undefeated entering their WBA-sanctioned lightweight title eliminator, which saw Martin (17-0, 12KOs)—who is promoted by unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence’s Man Down Promotions—floor Rivera in round seven en route to a lopsided win by scores of 117-110, 118-109 and 120-107.
Rivera was rumored to have struggled to shrink his filled out 5’9” frame to lightweight, though he weighed 134.4 pounds on the official Nevada State Athletic Commission scale during the pre-fight weigh-in. He was roughly the same weight in an eight-round points win over Jerry Perez just two months prior in Brooklyn, New York, as well as in his eighth-round knockout of Spain’s Jon Fernandez in their July 2021 WBA semifinal eliminator in Carson, California.
The instance in question is the first time that Rivera has run into such an issue and is generally regarded as a clean fighter. The 24-year-old from Miami by way of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is long enrolled in the WBC Clean Boxing Program.
Rivera is expected to campaign in the 140-pound junior welterweight division upon returning from his suspension later the year.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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