Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn in fresh doubt as British Boxing Board of Control ‘prohibits’ fight

Grudge match: Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr  (Getty Images)
Grudge match: Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr (Getty Images)

Saturday’s blockbuster fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn has been prohibited from going ahead by the British Boxing Board of Control.

The organisation said it was “not in the interests of boxing” for the fight to take place at the O2 in London after Benn failed a drugs test in the build-up.

The board informed both sets of promoters Matchroom and Wasserman of their position on Wednesday morning but, in a conflicting statement issued before the BBBoC’s view was made public later in the day, the promoters said the fight was still happening.

They would need to find another sanctioning body to allow it go ahead or for the BBBoC to change their position in the wake of Benn returning an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of the substance clomifene, a fertility drug, following a sample taken by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

In its statement, the BBBoC said: "The contest between Chris Eubank Jnr. and Conor Benn is prohibited as it is not in the interests of Boxing. That was communicated to the Boxers and Promoters involved on the morning of 5/10/22.”

The B sample has yet to be tested and the two promoters said in a statement the fight at the O2 would still go ahead.

That statement read: “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.

“Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice, are aware of all relevant information, and wish to proceed with the bout this Saturday.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In response to the BBBoC’s own statement prohibiting the fight, Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn said discussions were still ongoing between the lawyers over the validity of the fight.

He said: “The UKAD testing… has all been clear and negative. There’s not been an official doping violation. Conor Benn is not suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control. The conversations have to be had with the lawyers and the teams and the British Boxing Board of Control. We’ll see what happens from here.

“Eubank and Benn feel the fight should progress. There is no reason in terms of suspension or violations that the fight should not take place. We have to see where we go from there.”

Benn still turned up for his media workout on Wednesday afternoon as planned and denied any wrongdoing on his part. He also said he fully expected the fight to take place this weekend.

“I’ve not committed any violations, I’ve not been suspended so as far as I’m concerned the fight’s still going ahead,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Chris personally and we both want the fight to go ahead. We’ve both taken medical and legal advice and we want the fight to happen for the fans.

“I’ve signed up to every voluntary anti-doping testing there is under the sun. All my UKAD tests have come back negative throughout my career. I’ve never had any issues before. Even in the lead-up to this fight my tests have come back negative so my team will find out why there’s been an intial adverse finding in my test. I’m a clean athlete.”