Conor Benn has insisted he is “not banned from boxing” after being indicted by UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), following two failed drug tests in 2022.
Benn’s fight with Chris Eubank Jr fell through on short notice in October, after it was revealed that Benn had failed two drug tests before the fight. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) stripped Benn’s license, but in February the World Boxing Council cleared the 26-year-old Briton of intentional doping.
However, he has now been charged by Ukad and faces a possible two-year ban, though Benn was quick to respond to the news on Thursday (April 20).
“Another day, another attempt to create a headline with my name on it,” Benn, the son of British boxing icon Nigel Benn, wrote on Instagram. “I am involved in a confidential proceeding and have respected my confidentiality obligations. However, each day brings a new leak and misrepresentation of what is really going on.
“No news. Being ‘charged’ is the beginning of a process by which an athlete has to defend themselves. I have not been sanctioned by anyone, and I am not prohibited from boxing. I am still free to fight at events that are not sanctioned by the BBBofC. I don’t even have a BBBofC license.”
Minutes earlier, Ukad issued a statement saying: “Following a public consultation at the end of 2020 […] The UKAD Board decided in February 2021 that UKAD will not routinely publicly disclose the fact that an athlete has been charged or provisionally suspended before a charge is adjudicated. However, it was also recognized that there might be limited and rare instances where it is appropriate to do so in “exceptional circumstances”. […].
“Following media reports and comments made by professional boxer Conor Benn on Tuesday 18 April 2023, and under exceptional circumstances, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) confirms that Mr Benn has been notified and provisionally suspended by UKAD. on March 15, 2023 in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules.
“While Provisionally Suspended, Mr. Benn is prohibited from participating in any capacity (or assisting another Athlete in any capacity) in a Competition, Event or activity organized, convened, authorized or recognized by the British Boxing Board of Control or any another Sport that complies with the Anti-Doping Code.
“UKAD can also confirm that on 3 April 2023 it charged Mr Benn with a breach of Article 2.2 for the alleged use of a prohibited substance (clomiphene). The charge against Mr. Benn is pending and will now follow the Results Management process in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules.”
Meanwhile, Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, told iFL TV that he had found out about the news from a member of the media.
“I’m sitting there, thinking, ‘This is all a fucking joke,’” Hearn said. “I am the promoter; I have been informed of no suspension, nothing for Conor Benn. But you media tell me he’s suspended. And since then, I still haven’t had…we don’t even know.”
Hearn later reiterated his claim that he had heard “nothing” from Ukad, either before or after his statement on Thursday.
The undefeated Benn last fought in April 2022, stopping Chris van Heerden in the second round. With that victory in Manchester, Benn improved his professional record to 21-0 (14 KOs).
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