Conor Benn claims to have been cleared of doping but Ukad may appeal

A photo of Conor Benn

Conor Benn has not fought since April 2022 after his ban – PA/Yui Mok

Conor Benn is preparing to return to boxing and potentially resurrect his cancelled fight with Chris Eubank Jr after UK Anti-Doping lifted his suspension.

Benn claims that he had been cleared by the National-Doping Agency Panel after being charged by Ukad in March over the alleged use of the female fertility drug clomifene, which can also boost testosterone.

The positive finding during a voluntary drugs test in July was revealed just days before Benn, the son of former world champion Nigel, was due to fight Chris Eubank Jr, the son of his father’s once most bitter rival.

It forced the event to be scrapped at a cost of more than £1 million but Benn, who has not boxed since April 2022 and had always maintained his innocence, now intends to immediately reapply for his licence from the British Boxing Board of Control.

The dramatic development was announced on Friday by Benn himself, before being followed by a statement from Ukad which stressed that they still had a right of appeal and would now be seriously considering their options.

“Ukad notes that Mr Benn has made further public comments today regarding proceedings before the independent National Anti-Doping Panel,” said a Ukad Statement. “Ukad can confirm Mr Benn is no longer provisionally suspended under the UK Anti-Doping Rules.

“Where case decisions are handed down by a panel, the rules provide all relevant parties with a right of appeal.  Under the rules, Ukad has 21 days from the date of receipt of a decision to file any appeal. Ukad carefully reviews all decisions in its cases before deciding whether to exercise its right of appeal.”

Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn are seen during the press conference as promoter Eddie Hearn looks on

Could a Benn vs Eubank fight be back on the cards? – Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Benn, though, believes that he is now clear to resume what had been an unbeaten and highly promising 21-fight professional career.

“Today marks the end of a gruelling 10-month process, during which the WBC had already decided I was innocent of any wrongdoing,” he said in a statement.

“I have now been vindicated for the second time. Hopefully, the public and various members of the media can now understand why I have maintained my innocence so strongly all the way through.

“The last 10 months have weighed heavily on me and I am anxious that if this happened to me, it could potentially happen to any honest, dedicated and clean athlete like me. Only with the strength of all this support have I been able to continue during this challenging time. I now intend to put this matter behind me and look forward. Which begins with fighting as soon as possible, so I can remind everyone who I am.”.”

Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, suggested that he was planning a comeback fight within two months ahead of a more difficult opponent in December.

“It’s been a brutal, painful year of work and belief,” Hearn said. “The nightmare is over and he can get back to his career. Now we sit down with Conor and we look at the plan.

“Maybe he has a slightly smaller fight first. He’s been out of the ring for a year and a half, but he wants the big fights ASAP.

“We’ll decide what’s right for him. I like him coming back and having a fight maybe in September, and then going into a huge fight in December.”

The World Boxing Council had already cleared Benn of intentional doping and said a “highly elevated consumption of eggs” could have caused the positive test in July.

Benn provided a 270-page document to the WBC outlining his defence, but has said that eggs were never offered as an explanation. He does not accept that the banned substance was ever in his system.

The National Anti-Doping Panel, which is operated by Sports Resolutions, has not yet released its report.

The BBBofC deferred to Ukad in response to Benn’s comments. “The British Boxing Board of Control is aware that Conor Benn issued a public statement … in relation to proceedings between UK Anti-Doping and him,” said a statement. “The BBBofC refers to the statement published in response by Ukad.”

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