Way back in October 2022, boxing had one of their shoot themselves in the feet deals when the anticipated bout between Conor Benn and Chris Eubank, sons of bitter rivals on the UK scene, fell apart last minute because Benn flagged positive for PED use. Their Oct. 8 collision got put off, then cancelled, while Benn cried foul that the results were wrong.
Conor Benn, a 26 year old campaigner holding a 21-0 record, insisted at the onset, and subsequently, that the “adverse analytical findings” were hogwash. He shouted loud and hard that the deck was stacked against him, and lamented being unfairly smeared. “My team and I will consider the next options, including rescheduling the fight, but my immediate focus is on clearing my name because I am a clean athlete,” Benn, who last fought in April 2022, defeating Chris Van Heerden, said when the postponement was activated.
He promised, several times, to furnish “proof” that he was clean, and that the presence of Clomiphene in his sample was as a result of an error. Fight fans haven't seen a smoking gun of proof to bolster Benn's claims of innocence, but today, the WBC announced that “there was no conclusive evidence that Mr. Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene.” Clomiphene is banned by oversight organizations because it could/can be used to force one's body to pump out testosterone, and someone looking for an edge in competition in theory might seek that boost if their body wasn't cooperating in manufacturing its own testosterone. Here is a good explanation, from Dr. Kevin Chew, in a Bad Left Hook story: Clomiphene tells your body to make more testosterone. It doesn’t deliver it wholesale. It’s not giving the final product; it instructs the body to increase testosterone. So, it’s been shown that bodybuilders can and do utilize Clomid as part of their workout supplementation. They can use it as part of their cycling routine. They’ll do testosterone injectables for a few months, and they’ll come off of it and take Clomid to instruct their body to start making normal testosterone again.
In the WBC release, eggs were blamed, instead. “Mr. Benn’s documented and highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the Adverse Finding,” read a portion of the release sent out by the sanctioning body.
The fight actually was pretty highly anticipated, more so in the UK than US; it would be held at a catch-weight of 157 pounds, with Eubank (now 32-3, lost last outing, Jan. 21, TKO4 to Liam Smith) coming down from middleweight.
Check out the entirety of the release from the WBC below:
Conor Benn completed his enrollment process in the WBC Clean Boxing Program in February of 2022. Enrollment in the WBC CBP is mandatory for all fighters rated in the top 15 in the WBC Ratings. Accordingly, he was enrolled in the WBC CBP’s out-of-competition anti-doping testing in July of 2022, when the collection of the samples to which the WBC Ruling being announced herein pertains took place.
On August 23, 2022, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (“VADA”) notified Mr. Benn and the World Boxing Council (“WBC”) that the urine “A Sample” collected from him on July 25, 2022, in connection with his participation in the WBC/VADA anti-doping testing program yielded an adverse analytical finding for Clomiphene and its hydroxymetabolites MI and M2.
Clomiphene and its metabolites are banned substances at all times under the WBC CBP. Clomiphene is a metabolic modulator which promotes testosterone production and boost testosterone levels while burning fat.
On August 30, 2022, the WBC notified Mr. Conor Benn of the Adverse Finding and requested information and materials necessary to investigate the circumstances thereof. The WBC did not receive a substantive response until December of 2022.
Mr. Benn denied at all times the intentional or knowingly ingestion of any banned substances. His defense against the Adverse Finding centered on allegations of potential laboratory analysis failures and irregularities in connection with the analysis of his samples and of the results of the samples’ testing. The WBC consulted several experts in anti-doping laboratory analysis, including an expert consultant with over 30 years of experience in WADA and IOC accredited laboratory settings. The WBC concluded that there was absolutely no fault attributable to the laboratory that analyzed Mr. Benn’s samples. Further, the WBC reaffirms the unquestionable integrity of VADA and the sample collection agencies and laboratories which services VADA uses in connection with the WBC CBP.
It was not until early January of 2023, that the WBC Results Management Unit was able to undertake the full, substantive analysis of Mr. Benn`s arguments and defenses. On January 26, 2023, members of the WBC Results Management Unit held an inquiry session with Mr. Conor Benn and members of his legal team. In early February of 2023, Mr. Benn’s team for the first time provided a detailed breakdown of Mr. Benn’s diet and supplement consumption that could have directly affected the Adverse Finding.
The WBC availed itself of the services of an expert nutritionist. The WBC experts provided information about the characteristics of the substance at issue in this case and examples of similar adverse findings in several sports, under a diverse number of anti-doping programs.
The WBC Board of Governor’s ruling was based on: (1) the facts as known to the WBC at the time of the ruling; (2) any extenuating circumstances applicable to the specific case at hand; (3) WBC rulings in precedential anti-doping violation cases; (4) the unbiased, common-sensical and just analysis and recommendations of the WBC Results Management Unit; and (5) credible and reliable health-related and scientific literature.
The WBC found that: (1) there was no conclusive evidence that Mr. Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene; (2) there were no failures in the procedures related to sample collection, sample analysis, or violations of Mr. Benn’s B Sample rights that would justify questioning or invalidating the Adverse Finding; and (3) Mr. Benn’s documented and highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the Adverse Finding.
The WBC Nutrition Committee will work with Mr. Benn’s team to design a nutrition program geared to avoid the risk of a future adverse finding caused by nutritional factors. Mr. Conor Benn shall be subjected to regular anti-doping testing to monitor the effect of the WBC-ordered nutritional program.
The WBC shall include Mr. Conor Benn in its ratings during the period immediately following the issuance of its ruling. Mr. Benn’s position in the WBC Ratings shall be based solely on his merit and the customary factors the WBC Ratings Committee apply to rating boxers.
The WBC will establish a line of communication with WADA regarding the WBC’s concern about Clomiphene as a food contaminant and the potential of false positives caused by ingestion of contaminated food.