Boxing promoter Kalle Sauerlund has claimed that Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn had spoken to each other before they agreed for their fight to go ahead.
The story broke on Wednesday that Benn has failed a drugs test ahead of Saturday's fight at the O2 Arena in London – before subsequent reports stated that the pair want it to go ahead. But that was before the boxing council canceled the bout.
Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman Boxing released a joint statement saying that tests had found an ‘adverse analytical finding’ for traces of a fertility drug but that the fighter has not been charged for it. That was before the British Boxing Board of Control Limited announced later in the day that the fight will be called off.
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A statement read: "On the evening of 4th October 2022, the Board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jnr. and Conor Benn scheduled to take place on 8th October 2022 is prohibited as it is not in the interests of Boxing That was communicated to the Boxers and Promoters involved on the morning of 5 th October 2022."
It came just hours after Sauerlund went on TalkSport to address the issue, saying that both boxers have spoken and the fight would still be going ahead as planned.
He said on the sports chat radio show: "There were findings of a female fertility drug in a voluntary testing scheme, which is in addition to the UKAD testing scheme.
"They both wanted to sign up to a voluntary scheme as well and at the end of August and beginning of September, there was a test taken in which there were traces of a female fertility drug, Clomiphene.
"That was then relayed to us when the tests came back. The British board follows UKAD and the UKAD tests were all presented to us as negative. That's the position from a licensing point of view that let us proceed. We took medical advice and the substance is a non-PED.
"In the meantime, it can raise testosterone levels but the experts we consulted couldn't see that it would be giving an advantage. So on the basis of that, we discussed with the most important person on our side and that's the athlete and he was happy to continue.
"He spoke to Benn directly, there was a direct discussion between the two. I'm not privileged to mention what was said as I wasn't part of that discussion. But at the same time, they had a personal discussion, it seems to be personal matter from Conor Benn. We now have to focus on the show on Saturday."
After the news broke of the failed drugs test, Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman Boxing sent out a statement, which read: "We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug.
“The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed, Mr Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended, and he remains free to fight.
"Mr. Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated its doping control testing for the bout. Mr Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD."
But calls to cancel the fight were made even before the council made the decision. Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton blasted on Twitter: "Boxing does itself no favours. There should be no grey areas. If you fail a test you're banned and in my opinion, you should be banned for life."
The two were set to face off almost three decades since their fathers – Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank – fought in the ring.
Eubank Jr holds a record of 32-2 and his opponent, Benn, is undefeated with a record of 21-0.
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