Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.
Conor Benn has released a statement today claiming he has now been cleared by UK Anti-Doping and is free to fight on British shores again.
The testing agency subsequently released a statement of their own confirming that the 26 year old’s provisional suspension has been lifted although they retain a right to appeal the decision by the National Anti-Doping Panel within 21 days.
“Today marks the end of a gruelling 10 month process, during which the WBC had already decided that I was innocent of any wrongdoing. After a hearing with the National Anti-Doping panel and UKAD, I have now been vindicated for the second time”, Benn said.
“Hopefully the public and various members of the media can now understand why I have maintained my innocence so strongly all the way through.
“The UKAD process has now formally ended, and I remain free to fight. Naturally I am pleased that I can now put this behind me once and for all.”
The statement continues: “As you can imagine the last 10 months have weighed heavily on me and I am anxious that if this happened to me it could potentially happen to any honest, dedicated and clean athlete like me.
“I would like to thank my fans that have kept the faith where many have turned against me, as well as my team, Matchroom, my friends and family, sponsors and also my legal team, all of whom have shared a belief in me and commitment to ensuring the correct result being obtained and justice being achieved.
“Only with the strength of all this support have I been able to continue during this challenging time. I now intend to put this matter behind me and look forward. Which begins with fighting as soon as possible so I can remind everyone who I am.”
Benn tested positive for banned substance clomiphene in two separate tests taken in July and August last year.
Both were conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association – one under the WBC’s Clean Boxing Programme before the latter arose during the Brit’s build-up to his showdown with Chris Eubank Jr.
The fight was later cancelled at the eleventh hour after news of the second test result became public via Mail Sport.
The WBC cleared Benn of any wrongdoing in January, citing his overconsumption of eggs as a reasonable explanation for the test’s findings.
UKAD release statement:
UKAD – the official drug-testing agency recognised by the British Boxing Board of Control with whom Benn was licensed at the time – were still to conduct their own investigation however and provisionally suspended the welterweight in March.
The agency have confirmed that the suspension has now however been lifted after the case was heard by the National Anti-Doping Panel.
“In April 2023 UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) took the exceptional step of publicly disclosing details of Mr Conor Benn’s provisional suspension and charge following reports from the media and comments made by Mr Benn himself”, the statement reads.
“UKAD’s statement also confirmed that the case would follow the Results Management process in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules.
“In April 2023 UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) took the exceptional step of publicly disclosing details of Mr Conor Benn’s provisional suspension and charge following reports from the media and comments made by Mr Benn himself. UKAD’s statement also confirmed that the case would follow the Results Management process in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules.
The case may not be over though as UKAD retain a right to appeal the Panel’s decision over the next 21 days.
“Where case decisions are handed down by a panel, the Rules provide all relevant parties with a right of appeal. Under the Rules, UKAD has 21 days from the date of receipt of a decision to file any appeal.
“UKAD carefully reviews all decisions in its cases before deciding whether to exercise its right of appeal.”
What’s next for Benn?
Promoter Eddie Hearn also confirmed today’s news in a video posted to Matchroom Boxing‘s YouTube channel.
Hearn says the focus is now fully on a ring return – Benn has not fought since his third-round stoppage over Chris van Heerden in April last year – with Kell Brook and Josh Taylor named as potential opponents.
Benn relinquished his BBBofC license in October after the Board upheld allegations of misconduct against the 26 year old in the weeks following the fallout.
Hearn has now confirmed that Benn will reapply for his license in search of big fights at 147lbs in the second half of 2023.
The promoter also insists Benn was not cleared due to a technicality over jurisdiction between the various bodies involved.