Friday afternoon saw an update from the U.K. Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency that they have cleared unbeaten English welterweight Conor Benn, who’s been inactive while disputing his positive drug tests last Summer, to resume his career.
From the UKAD statement:
“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.
“UKAD notes that Mr Benn has made further public comments today regarding proceedings before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. UKAD can confirm Mr Benn is no longer provisionally suspended under the UK Anti-Doping Rules.
“The UK Anti-Doping Rules detail limited circumstances in which UKAD is able to make public disclosures about ongoing cases. They also set out a clear process within which cases can be heard and decisions can be handed down by the independent National Anti-Doping Panel. 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.
“UKAD is not able to make any further public disclosures in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules at this time.”
Benn (21-0, 14 KOs), 26, is the son of legendary British world champ Nigel Benn. And, he had been a fighter on the rise and a growing attraction in the U.K. over the previous two years. He scored knockouts of Samuel Vargas, former junior welterweight title holders Chris Algieri and also Chris van Heerden and a one-sided decision over Adrian Granados.
Prior to his showdown with the son of another legend, Chris Eubank Jr. last October, it was revealed that Benn tested positive for Clomifene, a drug that is primarily prescribed to women as a fertility treatment. However, it is a banned drug by the World Anti-Doping Administration (WADA) because it can increase testosterone in men.
Their Matchroom Boxing main event was postponed just days before it was to have happened.
Then, the British Boxing Board of Control, which governs the sport in the U.K., announced that Benn had decided to give up his license to fight there, rather than have them officially dole out a suspension for the positive test.
They said at the time:
“Conor Benn was called by the Board of the BBBofC to attend a hearing to deal with allegations of misconduct pursuant to Rule 25.1.1. The hearing took place on Oct. 21, 2022,” the BBBofC said in a statement. “On the morning of the hearing, Mr. Benn voluntarily relinquished his license with the BBBofC.
“In accordance with its Rules and Regulations, the Board determined the allegations following the hearing at which Mr. Benn was legally represented. The allegations of misconduct against Mr. Benn were upheld.”
Benn has been appealing to be cleared/attempt to be reinstated ever since and now, UKAD has finally given him some clarity Friday.
It still will be up to the BBOC on Benn’s reinstatement.
As for the possible Eubank fight. He has since taken a KO loss to Liam Smith to drop to (32-3, 23 KOs). He had also suffered a decision loss to countryman George Groves in 2018, but Eubank had beaten former titleholders Arthur Abraham and James DeGale, plus contender Matt Korobov and Liam Williams.
His only other loss was a split decision to Billy Joe Saunders for the European, British and Commonwealth middleweight titles in 2014. After the loss to Groves, Eubank had won six fights in a row before the Smith defeat. They are scheduled to rematch on September 2nd.
Back to Benn. He released a statement Friday saying:
“Today marks the end of the of a grueling 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. 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. …”
Benn tested positive for Clomiphene last September during a pre-fight drug test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for the Eubank fight. And, it’s important to note that the male body does not naturally make Clomiphene.
So, now, we await whom Benn will attempt to fight next? Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said Friday that they are looking for him to next fight in September and potentially put the Eubank fight back on, provided he avenges the Smith loss, for December or January.