Boxing fans have reacted to the news that the British Boxing Board of Control has banned the highly anticipated Conor Benn-Chris Eubank Jr. fight from taking place on Saturday night.
Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday that Benn, 26, had tested positive for Clomifene, a banned substance typically found in female fertility treatment that also contains performance-enhancing properties, increasing the production of testosterone in men.
Despite a statement released shortly after by Wasserman Boxing and Benn’s promotional team, Matchroom, fronted by Eddie Hearn, claiming the fight should still go ahead as planned, the BBBofC has stepped in to halt the proceedings.
Chris Eubank Jr’s (left) fight with Conor Benn (right) has been postponed by boxing authorities
‘On the evening of 4th October 2022 the Board of Directors of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited decided that the contest between Chris Eubank Jnr. and Conor Benn, scheduled to take place on October 8, 2022, is prohibited as it is not in the interest of boxing,” the board’s statement read.
‘It was announced to the boxers and promoters involved on the morning of October 5, 2022.’
The failed drug test and subsequent intervention by the board halts one of the most highly anticipated all-British fights in recent times with the two sons of former foes Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank Sr. due to fight in a catchweight bout, that promised to be as riveting as their fathers’ fights 30 years ago.
Despite the BBBofC’s stance, Benn still attended his public pregame workout Wednesday afternoon.
Addressing the situation, he said: ‘I haven’t committed any offences, I haven’t been suspended, so in my view the match still goes on. I have spoken with Chris Eubank Jr. personally and we will both move on.’
The statement released by the BBBofC follows uncertainty over whether the match would go ahead as planned on Saturday
Benn has returned a negative test for a banned substance before his fight with Eubank Jr
The fighter appeared his usual determined self as he was put through his paces at the open workout – but seemingly in a fruitless quest to be ready for a fight that didn’t happen
Reacting to the news on social media, fans expressed their disappointment that the match did not take place, but many accepted that it was the right decision.
‘I am saddened by the news from Eubank Jr-Benn, but this is the right decision. As a Benn fan, really disappointed with him, one social media user remarked.
Another wrote: ‘Gutted, been looking forward to this British scrap, the best in a long time.’
A supporter expressed their anger at the situation and questioned the Matchroom fighter for his decisions.
‘I’m completely shaking. I can’t believe this, what’s Conor Benn up to?’ did they ask.
Another supporter, perhaps also pointing to the breakdown in talks between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua over their planned meeting on December 3, said that while it was disappointing and only added to the long list of British fights fans were denied, said those were real calls.
Benn was photographed at the open practice prior to the game despite his positive drug test
Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn had insisted the fight will still go ahead on Saturday night
Wasserman Boxing and Matchroom issued a joint statement following Sportsmail’s exclusive
– As disappointing as it all is, this is the right decision for the sport. No fighter should be allowed to fight after cheating but we are being robbed of some massive British fights this year,’ they wrote.
Overall, the consensus online was one of anger and frustration – many pointed to this being a wider boxing problem, a sport that always seems to beat itself up – but that no other decision could have been made.
“Rightly so, although disappointing,” one social media user wrote in support of the BBBofC.
Saturday’s match was set to come almost 30 years after the second of two iconic matches between their fathers, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank (pictured)
Sympathy on the ground for Benn and his promoter Hearn seemed thin.
“Benn just lost them both several millions,” one person wrote.
Another demanded an apology from Benn. ‘This is so upsetting, not only for fans like us who want to see the fight, but everyone involved should have a public apology straight away, the way Conor Benn went on in his interviews was just shocking! Now see a failed drug test!’ they wrote.
WHAT IS CLOMIFENE?
Clomiphene is a powerful female fertility drug that acts as a performance enhancer.
It stimulates egg production in women, giving those struggling to conceive the best chance of conceiving.
Still, studies suggest that when given to men as a daily pill, clomiphene triggers the production of testosterone.
Testosterone plays a key role in tissue healing, transporting oxygen and nutrients to the site of injury and helping to repair. However, it also makes it easier to gain muscle and gives a physical boost, which is why it is a banned substance in the world of athletics.
Carl Frampton, a former two-weight world champion, had broken the rankings earlier in the day to express dismay at the news that the fight would still go ahead despite Benn’s failed drugs test. The board stepped in shortly after to issue a statement.
‘Boxing does no one any favours. There must be no gray areas. If you fail a test you are banned and in my opinion you should be banned for life,’ the Northern Irishman wrote.
‘I’ve been very careful since my amateur days about what I can and can’t do. I would not take a multivitamin unless VADA approved. I refused a topical psoriasis ointment as it had steroids in it. Deterrents need to be stronger,’ he revealed.
Meanwhile, amid increased confusion over Hearn’s comments on Wednesday afternoon, which was now a ‘back and forth’ dialogue between the board and lawyers, others expressed confusion over the situation.
Hearn told Matchroom: ‘There is currently no reason, in terms of infringement or suspension, for the fight not to take place. You’re not going to suspend Conor Benn, so at some point the fight is going to happen.’
One supporter labeled the sport a ‘mess’.
‘How is this match going? We need a crystal clear explanation from Conor Benn himself about how this drug showed up in a test? Without something incredibly plausible, the whole fight is a farce and downright dangerous,” one person asked.
‘What the hell is going on?’ DAZN host Ade Oladipo asked.
Naturally, other fighters took the opportunity to offer themselves as Benn’s replacement.
Caoimhín Agyarko, a 12-0 fighter represented by Hearn’s promotion company, said: ‘Don’t cancel the show, send me a contract, I’ll step in and fight Eubank, no problem.’