Conor Benn has been cleared by the World Boxing Council of an intentional doping offense after the governing body ruled a “highly-elevated consumption of eggs” was considered a “reasonable explanation” for his adverse finding.
The catchweight bout with Chris Eubank Jr scheduled for October 2022 was cancelled after trace amounts of a fertility drug, clomiphene – which is known to elevate testosterone levels in men – were found in Benn’s urine.
The tests were taken by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) during July and September. Subsequently, Benn, the 26-year-old son of former super-middleweight world champion Nigel Benn, relinquished his licence with the British Boxing Board of Control.
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) February 22, 2023
Benn had denied the intentional or knowingly ingestion of any banned substances, and in December broke his silence in a lengthy post on Instagram, vowing: “The truth will soon come out.”
On Wednesday, the WBC announced it was reinstating the London boxer in its rankings and stated there was “no conclusive evidence that Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene.”
The WBC said Benn’s team had during early February 2023 provided a detailed breakdown of his diet and supplement consumption “which could have directly affected the Adverse Finding”.
Having consulted an expert nutritionist, the WBC said in a statement it was found there was “no conclusive evidence that Mr. Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene”.
The sanctioning body also ruled there were no failures in the procedures related to sample collection and analysis, adding “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.”
Benn is to be subject to regular anti-doping testing to monitor the effect of the WBC’s programme geared to avoid the risk of a future adverse finding caused by nutritional factors.
“The WBC shall include Mr. Benn in its ratings during the period immediately following the issuance of its ruling,” the statement said.
“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 correspond with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over concerns about Clomiphene as a food contaminant and “the potential for false positives caused by ingestion of contaminated food”.
Despite the ruling from the WBC, Benn’s case continues to be investigated by UK Anti-Doping and the British Boxing Board of Control.
Until that process is concluded, Benn would not be licensed to box in the UK, but could fight in another country under a different jurisdiction.
Following the announcement from the WBC, the BBBoC issued a statement clarifying the position over Benn’s case, stressing the fighter’s camp had yet to come forward with any evidence.
“The BBBoC has not been party to the review conducted by the WBC and has not been provided with sight of any evidence submitted on Mr. Benn’s behalf,” the statement read.
“The BBBoC is aware that the WBC has concluded its own review into at least one of the two positive findings and reached its own decision, published today 22nd February 2023.
“For clarity, whilst the BBBoC wishes to make clear that it respects the WBC, the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body.
“The BBBoC was the governing body with whom Mr. Benn was licensed at the material time, and as such any alleged anti-doping violation shall be dealt with in accordance with its rules and regulations.
“The BBBoC has adopted the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping, and those formed part of the rules to which Mr. Benn was bound. As such, the decision of the WBC does not affect the ongoing implementation of the BBBoC’s rules (and those of UKAD).
“The UK Anti-Doping Rules make clear what conduct constitutes an Anti-Doping Rule Violation as defined in those rules (and in the World Anti-Doping Code) and specifically set out the circumstances in which such violations can be committed by way of strict liability.”