WBC clears popular Benn of intentional doping

Boxing

Conor Benn will return to the WBC welterweight rankings after it found his “documented and highly elevated consumption of eggs … a reasonable explanation” for the boxer’s adverse finding for the performance-enhancing drug clomiphene, the organization announced Wednesday.

Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) was set to fight Chris Eubank Jr. in October, but the event was scrapped after the British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the 157-pound catchweight bout following Benn’s positive test for the fertility drug often used to boost testosterone levels and burn fat.

Benn, 26, maintained his innocence, and his WBC suspension has now been lifted. However, it’s simply a minor victory; he remains unable to compete in the U.K., where he’s a star, because he remains banned by the BBBofC.

“The BBBofC has not been party to the review conducted by the WBC and has not been provided with sight of any evidence submitted on Mr. Benn’s behalf,” BBBofC general secretary Robert Smith said in a statement. “For clarity, whilst the BBBofC wishes to make clear that it respects the WBC, the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body.

“The BBBofC was the governing body with whom Mr. Benn was licensed at the material time, and as such any alleged anti-doping violation shall be dealt with in accordance with its rules and regulations.”

Benn could always elect to fight in the U.S., where his promoter, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, also holds events. All but one of his 21 pro bouts have taken place in the U.K.

The bout between Benn and Eubank was slated to take place 30 years after their fathers — British stars Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank — fought in one of boxing’s most-revered rivalries.

Benn was ranked No. 8 by ESPN at 147 pounds before he was removed because of the adverse finding. The power puncher impressed with a highlight-reel fourth-round KO of former champion Chris Algieri last year and followed up with a second-round stoppage of Chris van Heerden in April.

The adverse finding tarnished Benn’s reputation in boxing, but he continues efforts to clear his name.

“We have never cut corners or cheated the grind in any way,” Benn said in a statement released on social media in December. ” … It’s been really hard for me to accept that people think that I would do what I was accused of.”

Victor Conte, the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, told ESPN he wants to see more evidence. Conte served time in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute performance-enhancing drugs before founding SNAC, a sports nutrition company.

“In my opinion the WBC ruling in the Conor Benn case is outrageous,” Conte said. “They completely ignored the strict liability rule that has existed since the beginning of anti-doping. This rule basically states that an athlete is responsible for what is in their body no matter how it got there. Clomiphene is a prohibited substance at all times by Olympic governing bodies worldwide.

“In the clenbuterol contamination case with Canelo Alvarez, supportive evidence was provided such as receipts from the restaurant and follow-up investigative reports from the slaughterhouse and cattle rancher,” Conte added. “Plus, they conducted an additional hair test and found levels consistent with meat contamination and not intent to cheat. These supportive factors helped to mitigate the length of the Canelo suspension.

“Where are the receipts from where the eggs that Conor Benn purchased and consumed? Did independent testing of the same brand of eggs confirm that this brand was, in fact, selling contaminated eggs?”

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