‘I’m a clean athlete’: Conor Benn maintains innocence despite ‘adverse’ drugs test result

Conor Benn insists he is a “clean athlete” despite returning an “adverse” finding from a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) drugs test before his fight with Chris Eubank Jr this weekend.

The fight was placed in doubt after “trace amounts of a fertility drug”, known as clomifene, were discovered in Benn’s test which took place at the end of August or start of September, according to Wasserman promoter Kalle Sauerland.

The British Boxing Board of Control then released a statement to declare the fight would be “prohibited” from taking place, but Benn, while attending the media workouts, finally broke his silence and insists he is innocent.

"I wanted to say this personally, I wanted you to hear from me personally,” Benn told Matchroom. “I’ve not committed any violations, I’m not suspended, as far as I’m concerned, the fight is going ahead. I’ve spoken to Chris personally.

"We both want the fight to go ahead, we’ve taken medical and legal advice, we want the fight to go ahead for the fans.

“Throughout my whole career I’m tested, I’ve never had any issues before. My team will find out why there’s been an adverse finding. The fight is still going ahead, I’m a clean athlete. We’ll get to the bottom of this. I’ll see you on Saturday.

“He [Eubank Jr] fully believes in me, it’s not who I am, it’s not what I’m about. He was understanding. We both want the fight to go ahead. As far as I’m concerned, it is going ahead."

A joint statement from promoters Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman detailed a collective intent for the fight to take place on Saturday.

Sauerland also told talkSport: “It’s a non-performance-enhancing drug, but it can raise testosterone.”

Despite the news, Eubank Jr “wishes to proceed” with Saturday’s catchweight main event at London’s O2 Arena.

Benn and Eubank Jr are set to face each other in a match made at 157lb, which will see the latter cut 3lb off his usual fighting weight while Benn moves up two weight classes.

Promotor Sauerland, who represents Eubank Jr, told talkSport on Wednesday: “The instant reaction is, ‘The fight is off...’ [but] the fight on Saturday is on.

“You have to look into what it is; a banned substance is a banned substance, end of. The scenario around it... how it could come to that, why are the other tests not positive? There’s been a big mistake here.

“Has it been done as a PED [performance-enhancing drug]? No – that’s the medical opinions we have had.”

Benn and Eubank Jr’s fathers engaged in one of the most storied rivalries in British boxing history, with Chris Eubank stopping Nigel Benn in the ninth round of their first clash, in 1990, before they fought to a split draw in 1993 – almost 29 years to the day before this Saturday’s scheduled bout.