BBBofC's general secretary on Benn return: 'I don’t think he should be boxing until this matter is cleared'

The general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBofC], Robert Smith, disagreed with Eddie Hearn’s statement that Conor Benn has cleared his name, despite the unbeaten Benn returning to the ring this Saturday in Orlando, Florida.

Benn [21-0, 14KOs] had failed two VADA-administered anti-doping testing procedures before his previously scheduled encounter with Chris Eubank Jr, which was slated to occur on October 5th 2022, at London’s O2 Arena.

Subsequently, Benn was provisionally suspended in March of this year till the relevant authorities [UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control] could investigate the matter. Ultimately, Benn would be cleared to resume his career in July by the Independent National Anti-Doping Panel. However, UKAD, alongside the British Boxing Board of Control, has since appealed his clearance by the panel which cleared him.

Benn will face Rodolfo Orozco (32-3-3, 24 KOs) in a contest scheduled for ten rounds, which will be held at 154lbs

When talking to Talksport, Smith reaffirmed that Benn is currently not licenced by the BBBofC and that the board has received communication from the Florida Athletic Commission regarding Benn’s status with the British domestic governing body. Ultimately, Smith stated that the BBBofC and UKAD are ready to proceed with their appeal regarding Benn’s clearance to resume his career.

“He’s not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control. I understand he’s licensed by a commission in America. They must be satisfied as to everything’s in order. If they’re happy for him to box, it’s up to them.”

“The only communication I’ve had is from journalists in Florida and the Florida Commission asking what the situation is. For which I’ve gone back and said he’s not licensed by the boxing board of control. There’s an appeal in process, and until that is dealt with, we obviously can’t give permission for him to box in this country [United Kingdom]. Ultimately it’s up to them. That’s the trouble with no world governing body.

“We are appealing, along with UKAD, the National Anti-Doping’s decision from a couple of months ago [to allow Benn to resume his career]. We’re just waiting for a date. It’s frustrating it’s taking so long. We’re ready to go, I understand UKAD is ready to go. We’re just waiting for a date.”

“We were very disappointed in the original decision, and if we were to lose [the appeal], we’ll be disappointed.”

Responding to Hearn’s statements that Benn has cleared his name, Smith responded that Benn still has several issues which need resolving, including awaiting the outcome of the BBBofC’s appeal and an explanation of how Benn tested positive for the substance Clomiphene in the first place.

“Well, he hasn’t cleared it. A number of issues are still outstanding, which everybody’s aware of. We’ve decided to appeal a decision, and once the appeal has taken place, we’ll take it onboard from there. But no, when you say he’s cleared his name, according to us, we haven’t had an explanation of how the positive test came about. So I don’t quite agree with Eddie on that one.”

Smith finalised that he didn’t think Benn should be boxing in his current situation.

“Personally, I don’t think he should be boxing until this matter is cleared.”