Conor Benn has spoken of a “lifetime of regrets” at his handling of him testing positive for clomifene.
The 26-year-old twice failed drug tests in the build-up to the fight with Chris Eubank Jr that was scheduled for October until news broke of him testing positive for the female fertility drug.
He has since been subjected to intense criticism – criticism that has also been renewed at some of the statements he has made via social media, or interviews he has given.
Those close to Benn have also spoken about the extent to which he has struggled on a human level, and the welterweight said: “I could have never thought I’d be in this situation. It shocked me, and there’s a lot of regrets, the way I dealt with this. There’s a lifetime of regrets in the way I’ve dealt with this.
“But I’ve got to keep it moving, and I’m so grateful for my team for sticking with me and showing me support everyday and for my trainer [Tony Sims] calling me every single day, ‘cause he could see how bad I was. It’s only now I’m getting through it, where people go to me, ‘Yeah, you didn’t look so great’, and I’m going, ‘I thought I was dealing with it well’. But it’s when people tell you, ‘Nah, you didn’t look great’, you realise how bad and traumatic it actually was.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve. I talk the truth. Could I have dealt with this a lot better? I could have. I have so many regrets about the way I’ve dealt with this, but it come as a shock. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do, and I was probably making it worse because I’m talking from the heart. I’m opening up. It’s hard. I know how it looks but I’ll never [hold my hands up and say I cheated when I believe I didn’t].”
Benn, who has been provisionally suspended by UK Anti-Doping, has confirmed he expects his next fight to come overseas, and therefore potentially beyond the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control.
Asked how he would have handled the circumstances differently, he responded: “I’d give the public an explanation. The public wanted an explanation. I think I turned a little bit bitter towards the boxing community; a bit bitter towards the public and the way they reacted. When it’s like, ‘I’m one of your own; give me a minute; I live by the sword; I live this life; I’m about this life; I do nothing but want to deliver entertainment for the British public’.
“So for me it was, ‘Wow, you guys are going to turn that quick? Give me a chance’. Just give me a chance. Wait until you hear from the horse’s mouth what’s the craic – what’s happened? It was hard, and yeah, I turned bitter, but you’ve got to remember, every single day, I’m getting fired at. Everyday. Religiously. And I’m like, ‘I can’t talk’. How can I come out and talk about this when I don’t even know what’s happened? What am I going to do? ‘Guys – sorry – I don’t know’? That’s not good enough. I can’t sit there and go, ‘It’s not good enough, guys’. I had to wait to find out everything before I could then talk about it.
“[Through not immediately attempting to offer an explanation] it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you guys have really made up your own minds on this already’, and you didn’t even give me a chance. Legally, I couldn’t talk, number one, but number two, what am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to say? I’m broken. It’s killed me. It’s killed me.
“‘Cause I could never do that to my family, and then I’m looking at my son and going, ‘My son’s [Ely, two] gotta read all this [one day]’. I’m 26. I can’t cope. Couldn’t deal with it. It’s mega, this is. It’s shame. It’s public humiliation, for something that I despise. Something I frown upon massively. I couldn’t have done nothing at the beginning, but every time I wish I’d just opened up, what am I supposed to say when I don’t even know myself [what happened for me to have tested positive]?”