Artur Beterbiev: Did He Test PED Positive?



Artur Beterbiev: Did He Test PED Positive?
Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Artur Beterbiev did NOT test PED positive, he made weight today and his light heavyweight title defense versus Brit Callum Smith will proceed as planned, on ESPN.

But you’d be excused if you got worried with the Friday semi kerfuffle, the matter of Beterbiev’s sample having presented as…well, not normal, but not abnormal to the extent an official red flag was raised.

The WBC weighed in, and offered a release on the affair centered on the 19-0 Russian living in Canada:


“Amid several press reports concerning the results of anti-doping tests performed on Champion Artur Beterbiev in connection with his upcoming defense of his WBC World Light Heavyweight bout against Callum Smith, the WBC is hereby clarifying the situation,” the sanctioning body office put forth on Friday.

“Two samples (one urine and another blood) collected on December 6, 2023, yielded analytical “atypical findings” for 5b-androstanediol and hGH (human growth hormones),” the release read.
Artur Beterbiev

Praise be… The sample situation won’t affect the fight. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

So, Was Artur Beterbiev PED Positive?

“An atypical finding is not a positive results for a banned substance.  The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) defines an atypical finding as “a report from a laboratory or other WADA-approved entity which requires further investigation … ”  That is exactly what the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which is the entity that administers the WBC Clean Boxing Program, did in this case.
“In response to the atypical findings, VADA immediately ordered additional anti-doping tests on Champion Beterbiev.
To that end, VADA caused samples to be collected from Champion Beterbiev on December 15, 2023 (urine), December 21, 2023 (blood and urine), and then again on January 3, 2024 (blood). All of those samples yielded absolutely negative results.

Matchroom, Top Rank, the Quebec Commission, all sanctioning bodies involved (WBC, IBF, and WBO), and the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) received notifications of all the results of anti-doping test Champion Beterbiev has taken, and therefore of all follow up procedures.

It is widely known that there is no way to identify conclusively the source of an atypical findingIn the case of 5b-androstanediol, it has been reported that the atypical finding can be due to the rate certain people's bodies metabolize naturally occurring testosterone-type compounds.

 In the case of hGH, WADA provides with specific criteria to its accredited laboratories to report hGH levels as atypical or adverse findings. In Champion Beterbiev's case, the level of hGH detected did not meet the WADA criteria for an adverse finding, and therefore constitutes an atypical one.

Because the origin of an atypical finding is very difficult to identify, WADA recommends further testing to monitor any abnormal variations in testosterone levels.  In Champion Beterbiev's case, the follow up tests were not only negative, but yielded consistent testosterone levels without any spiking that could have suggested exogenous intake of performance enhancement substances. 

And the capper?

In short, Champion Beterbiev's testing protocol and results therein lead only to one conclusion: there are no adverse findings.  
In light of the testing measures taken and all results obtained, the WBC has not and will not take any adverse action in this matter.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.