The much-anticipated fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn collapsed on fight week due to an adverse finding in Benn’s Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) drug test in the lead-up to the bout.
Benn’s VADA test returned traces of Clomifene, a substance which helps females with fertility but is proven to increase testosterone in men. Benn had reportedly returned a negative test with UK Anti-Doping) UKAD, however, his VADA test returned positive for the substance clomifene which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list. The British Boxing Board of Control prohibited the bout from taking place, although the positive test was from the VADA programme and not UKAD.
This is not the first time a situation which sees a positive VADA test and a negative UKAD test result pay dividends to a fight. Back in 2018, Billy Joe Saunders would travel to Boston, Massachusetts to defend his WBO middleweight title. Saunders would also return an adverse finding in the lead-up to the bout, which contained oxilofrine. Oxilofrine is a stimulant which is chemically linked to the asthma medication ephedrine, which was listed as a banned substance by WADA’s in-competition code. Saunders cited a nasal spray could have been the reason that the stimulant was in his system, and it would’ve been ingested while out of competition, meaning he would not have failed a test conducted by UKAD and would not have been in breach of the BBBofC rules.
In Saunders’ case, nine days before the scheduled bout, BBBofC General Secretary, Robert Smith, reportedly told Boxing News: “He hasn’t failed any drug test with us.
“It’s a different criteria. It’s very frustrating and it shouldn’t be the case. There’s obviously a conflict between the two sets of rules. VADA is not a recognised organisation within WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) and we deal with UKAD who are affiliated with WADA and run by their rules. VADA do not. We need some sort of clarification with regards to our sport and how it’s affected.”
Saunders’ bout with Andrade would be cancelled and the WBO confirmed that Saunders ‘voluntarily relinquished’ his world title. Saunders returned to the ring two months after all this with his name being cleared.
That brings us to the Eubank Jr vs Benn situation. Benn’s tests with UKAD reportedly came back negative, however, his VADA test would return an adverse finding. The BBBofC prohibited the bout from taking place as it was not ‘in the interests of boxing.’ In a statement released by promotional banners Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman Boxing which confirmed the postponement of this fight, it was stated that it ‘remains a legal issue between the promoters and the board which we intend to pursue.’ Full statement below.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 6, 2022