Eddie Hearn hopes returning Conor Benn can face Chris Eubank Jr in December
Conor Benn will make his comeback in Orlando on Saturday in his first bout since failing two voluntary drug tests and promoter Eddie Hearn says a clash with Chris Eubank Jr could happen in December.
Benn, who has not fought since April 2022 when he knocked out Chris van Heerden, has been cleared to fight Mexico’s Rodolfo Orozco this weekend.
The 26-year-old saw his proposed bout with Eubank Jr last October fall through following two positive tests for the banned drug clomifene, which resulted in him being hit with a provisional suspension.
Benn promised to prove his innocence and, while he was formally charged by UK Anti-Doping in April, it was announced in July he had been cleared by an independent National Anti-Doping Panel.
Hearn, in Florida for Saturday’s bout against Orozco at Caribe Royale, said: “We want the Eubank fight. It’s the biggest fight in British boxing, outside AJ v Fury and right up there with it.
“We want to fight in the UK. Conor won his case. He was cleared, his suspension was lifted and I keep hearing this ‘he was not cleared’.
“If he wasn’t cleared he wouldn’t be allowed to fight on Saturday.
“The Association of Boxing Commissions would not lift their suspension of Benn until it was confirmed to them by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) that he was no longer suspended and therefore he was cleared to fight.
So our plan, ideally, is to fight Chris Eubank Jr in the UK in December. We've already had offers from a number of international venues to stage that fight, but I would like to try and make that fight in the UK
“So our plan, ideally, is to fight Chris Eubank Jr in the UK in December. We’ve already had offers from a number of international venues to stage that fight, but I would like to try and make that fight in the UK.”
UKAD and the BBBofC appealed against the decision to lift Benn’s provisional suspension last month, which prevented the son of former two-weight world champion Nigel Benn being able to resume his boxing career in his home country.
Benn and promotion company Matchroom have now decided to try and get his career back on track with a bout in the United States.
Mexican veteran Orozco has been drafted in as a last-minute opponent for Benn, whose fight will be the co-main event of a show also involving super-lightweights Richardson Hitchins and Jose Zepeda.
Hearn said: “We were made aware a few weeks ago or a month ago that there would be an appeal – we’ve heard nothing more, no dates for that appeal.
“We’re not sure if that will take place or when it will take place, but this man’s free to go back to work and that’s what we’ve decided to do.”
Benn said: “I am undefeated in the ring, and in spirit. A return on Saturday is a step closer to redemption.
“After that, I’m putting the 147-160 divisions on notice. You are looking at a determined man with a deep desire to beat them all.”
Even though Greenwich-born Benn (21-0, 14KOs) will fight for the first time in 17 months on Saturday, his fight to clear his name is not over yet.
Benn relinquished his BBBC licence after his bout against Eubank was scrapped and criticised the governing body’s handling of his case.
Benn’s positive tests were conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for the WBC, which cleared the boxer of any wrongdoing in February, pointing to an “elevated consumption of eggs” for the findings.
Londoner Benn himself insisted eggs were never blamed in a 270-page report he sent the WBC, but he has repeatedly stressed his innocence, having faced a two-year ban.
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