Conor Benn insists he is a “clean athlete” and believes Saturday’s fight with Chris Eubank Jr will still go ahead.
It was revealed on Wednesday that an “adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug” had shown up in one of Benn’s recent tests by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
The British Boxing Board of Control then said the scheduled bout at the O2 Arena was “prohibited” and “not in the interests of boxing”, but Benn feels it can go ahead given he has passed all his tests with the UK Anti-Doping Agency, which is in charge of doping control for the bout.
Benn, speaking at the Outernet venue in central London ahead of his open workout session, told Matchroom’s YouTube channel: “I have not committed any violation, I have not been suspended so as far as I am concerned the fight is still going ahead.
“I have spoken to Chris personally and we both want the fight to go ahead. We have both taken medical and legal advice and we want the fight to happen for the fans.
“I have signed up to every voluntary anti-doping testing there is under the sun. Throughout my whole career I am tested and my UKAD tests have come back negative so I have never had any issues before.
“Even in the lead-up to this fight, my (UKAD) tests have come up negative so my team will find out as to why there has been an initial adverse finding in my test, but as I said as far as I am concerned the fight is going ahead.
“I am a clean athlete and we will get to the bottom of this.”
Promoters Matchroom and Wasserman Boxing and the two fighters have known about the drug test result for a number of weeks, the PA news agency understands.
Following conversations between Benn and Eubank Jr, the bout – the third between the families after the dads of the duo fought in the 1990s – was set to go ahead, only for the British Boxing Board, which has licensed the contest, to make its feelings known on Wednesday afternoon.
“He fully believes, he believes in me,” Benn said of Eubank Jr.
“It is not who I am and not what I am about. I am a professional athlete and he was understanding.
“We both want the fight to go ahead and, as far as I am concerned, the fight is going ahead.”
Benn and Eubank Jr are due to fight at a catchweight contest, with the weight limit set at 157lbs – forcing Eubank Jr to come down to his lowest weight since he was a teenager.
The adverse finding in Benn’s test has thrown the bout into chaos and the BBBofC says it can not be staged.
A statement from the BBBofC read: “On the evening of 4th October 2022, the board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jnr and Conor Benn, scheduled to take place on 8th October 2022, is prohibited as it is not in the interests of boxing.
“That was communicated to the boxers and promoters involved on the morning of 5th October 2022.”
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn admitted the matter was in the hands of lawyers, with a joint statement from both promotion companies at the beginning of the day explaining why it could still go ahead.
“We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug,” a Matchroom and Wasserman Boxing statement read.
“The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed, Mr Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended, and he remains free to fight.
“Mr Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated its doping control testing for the bout. Mr Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD.
“Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice, are aware of all relevant information, and wish to proceed with the bout this Saturday.”
Eubank Jr remained positive about fighting this weekend despite Benn’s drug test results and was put through his paces during an open workout session.
He told Matchroom’s YouTube channel: “I hope it goes ahead, it should do. I am ready, he is ready.
“Whatever the boxing board are saying, they are saying but my promoters will do their best to make sure we get the fight going and the fans are not let down.”
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