Conor Benn has insisted that he is ‘not banned from boxing’ after being formally charged 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 in the lead-up to the bout. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) stripped Benn of his licence, but in February the World Boxing Council cleared the Briton, 26, of intentional doping.
He has now been charged by Ukad, however, and faces a potential two-year ban, though Benn was quick to respond to the news on Thursday (20 April).
“Another day, another attempt to create a headline with my name,” Benn, the son of British boxing icon Nigel Benn, wrote on Instagram. “I am involved in a confidential procedure, and I have respected my confidentiality obligations. Yet each day brings a new leak and a misrepresentation of what is actually happening.
“There is no news. Being ‘charged’ is the start of a process by which an athlete has to defend themselves. I have not been sanctioned by anyone, and I am not banned from boxing. I remain free to fight in events that are not sanctioned by the BBBofC. I don’t even have a BBBofC licence.”
Minutes earlier, Ukad released a statement that read: “Following a public consultation in late 2020 [...] UKAD’s 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 has been resolved. However, it was also recognised that there might be limited and rare examples where it is appropriate to do so in ‘exceptional circumstances’ [...].
“Following reports in the media and comments made by professional boxer Mr Conor Benn on Tuesday 18 April 2023, and in exceptional circumstances, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) confirms that Mr Benn was notified and provisionally suspended by UKAD on 15 March 2023 in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules.
“Whilst provisionally suspended, Mr Benn is prohibited from participating in any capacity (or assisting another Athlete in any capacity) in a Competition, Event or activity that is organised, convened, authorised or recognised by the British Boxing Board of Control or any other World Anti-Doping Code-compliant sport.
“UKAD can also confirm that on 3 April 2023 it charged Mr Benn with an Article 2.2 violation for the alleged Use of a Prohibited Substance (clomifene). 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 discovered the news via a media member.
“I’m sitting there, thinking: ‘The whole thing’s a f***ing joke,’” Hearn said. “I’m the promoter; I’ve been made aware of no suspension, nothing for Conor Benn. But you – the media – are telling me that he’s suspended. And since then, I’ve still had no... we don’t even know.”
Hearn then reiterated his claim that he had heard “nothing” from Ukad, neither before or after its statement on Thursday.
The unbeaten 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 knockouts).
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