Chris Eubank Jr.-Conor Benn fight postponed in wake of Benn’s failed drug test
The fight between Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr. is off … for now.
Promoters on Thursday postponed the event, scheduled for Saturday in London, in the wake of Benn’s failed test for a banned fertility drug that can boost testosterone.
No new target date has been announced.
The British Boxing Board of Control, which oversees the sport in the U.K., refused to sanction the bout after the positive test. Promoters had said indicated they might seek an outside body to sanction the bout but decided against that.
“After discussions with various parties, we have taken the decision to formally postpone the bout between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn,” Matchroom Boxing announced.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) October 6, 2022
The promoter went on: “It is undeniable that the British Boxing board of Control’s decision to withdraw their sanctioning was procedurally flawed and without due process. That remains a legal issue between the promoters and the Board which we intend to pursue.”
Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom, had said Thursday that promoters would not try to find an outside organization to sanction the fight.
“It’s been done before and it’s ot something Ive looked at before or something I necessarily agree with,” Hearn said. “This is not a situation where we want to run rogue and come up with an alternative plan.”
Hearn reportedly also considered seeking an injunction to save the fight but also decided against that.
“Whilst there are legal routes to facilitate the fight taking place as planned, we do not believe that it is in the fighters’ interests for those to be pursued at such a late stage, or in the wider interest of the sport. …
“As promoters we take our obligations and duties very seriously, and a full investigation will now need to take place.”
Eubank’s promoter, Kalle Sauerland, said Wednesday that Eubank and Benn learned of Benn’s positive test weeks before the event was due to take place, according to the BBC. Eubank still wanted to fight.
“We discussed it straight away with the most important person from our side, the athlete. He was happy to continue and spoke to Benn directly,” Sauerland said.
Meanwhile, Benn said that he’s “a clean athlete.”
“I’ve not committed any violations, I’ve not been suspended, so as far as I’m concerned the fight is still going ahead,” he said to members of the media after a workout Wednesday. “I’ve signed up to every voluntary anti-doping test under the sun, throughout my whole career I’m tested, I’ve always come back negative, I’ve never had any issues before.
“My team will find out why there has been an initial adverse finding in my test, but as far as I’m concerned the fight is going ahead. I’m a clean athlete and we’ll get to the bottom of this.”
He went on: “We both (Benn and Eubank) want the fight to go ahead. We’ve both taken medical and legal advice and we both want the fight to happen for the fans. He fully believes, he believes in me, and it’s not who I am, or what I’m about. I’m a pro athlete and he was understanding.”
Benn tested positive for Clomifene, a fertility drug for women that reportedly can increase testosterone levels in men.
He was tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which doesn’t work directly with the BBBofC. That’s one reason Hearn believes the governing body had no right to prohibit the fight.
However, UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Jane Rumble said her organization recognizes all legitimate drug testing.
“UKAD notes the reporting of a failed VADA test by the boxers Conor Benn with concern. … UKAD acts on all reports of doping and always encourages anyone with information on suspected doping activity to come forward and share that with us.”
Promoters aren't giving up on the Chris Eubank Jr.-Conor Benn fight
Chris Eubank Jr.-Conor Benn fight in jeopardy after Benn fails drug test