By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder was ordered to perform 60 hours of community service on Thursday after being found guilty of misdemeanour marijuana possession.
The 32-year-old American, who last fought in November when he beat Haitian-Canadian Bermane Stiverne with a first-round knockout to retain his WBC heavyweight title, was arrested in Alabama last June.
Wilder, who received a 30-day suspended sentence and two years of probation, was ordered to perform the community service at a local YMCA.
“We respect the court’s ruling. Of course we were hoping a dismissal would be granted,” Wilder’s lawyer, Paul Patterson, said in a phone interview. “We are going to look at our options of appellate relief and then move on from there.”
When Wilder was pulled over last June for having windows tinted beyond the legal limit, officers smelled marijuana coming from inside his Cadillac Escalade.
Patterson said at the time the marijuana did not belong to his client, who had been out of state for several days and returned home from Georgia in his Rolls Royce before switching to his Cadillac Escalade to run some errands.
Patterson said Wilder has a large fleet of vehicles that associates and friends can access and prefers the Escalade for errands because the tinted windows offer more privacy.
“All in all it’s a lesson learned for Mr. Wilder not to leave his many vehicles in the care and custody of numerous people or allow them to use them while he is out of town,” said Patterson.
Wilder, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is scheduled to defend his title on March 3 against Cuban Luis Ortiz.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)