Benn willing to spend every penny to clear his name

Conor Benn is less than two weeks away from his second fight on the road.

The 27-year-old is 22-0 (14KOs) as a pro, and he fights Peter Dobson in Las Vegas on February 3.

The British welterweight contender failed two tests (one for VADA and one as part of the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program) before his proposed 2022 fight with Chris Eubank Jr but Benn boxed in Florida last September with his disputes with both the British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD yet to be conclusively resolved. 

Benn has been ‘cleared to box’ by the WBC, but UKAD and the Board are both appealing the decision from the National Anti-Doping Panel that saw his suspension lifted. Benn is not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, so he has not been suspended from boxing by them, and VADA cannot discipline fighters for positive tests, only release the results of the tests to the parties who have signed up for testing.

Benn has been in America helping John Ryder prepare for this weekend’s big fight with Jamie Munguia, and the Tony Sims trained team stays out a week later for Benn’s Las Vegas bout with Dobson. 

Social media has shown plenty of support for Benn since the results were made public, but plenty also do not wish him well.

“Listen, there’s nothing I can do to change people’s opinions now,” Benn said. “For all of those who have made up their mind, they’ve made up their mind, and those who believe me, believe me. There’s nothing more I can do. I’ve shouted from the rooftops. I’ve expressed myself. People have seen me from a 19-year-old kid to become the fighter I am today, and the discipline and the hard work that I’ve put in. If you want to talk factual, even when this appeal’s done and I’ve won this case – you’ve got to remember that I won the hearing the first time (a)round and I was cleared by the WBC who’s test it was. Normally they dish out six-month bans. I’m willing to spend every last penny I have to fight my innocence, every penny I have. That’s how much this means to me.”

Benn has subsequently learned about positive tests from other athletes who have been found with clomiphene in their systems, and Benn reckons there is much more to be learned about the drug, that helps raise testosterone levels.

“If my tests and my evidence to my results have to be the measuring stick for fighters coming forward, then so be it,” he said. “Use my evidence, because I can’t let all this money that I’ve spent on this case go to waste. [Robert] Helenius has tested positive for it [clomiphene], two cyclists have tested positive for it, all within a year. Bearing in mind no one’s ever heard of this thing before, so you tell me if that doesn’t sound off as it is. I will continue to shout from the rooftops to protest my innocence, because I am. So some will always believe me, some won’t, and I’ve become accepting of that.”

Benn was talking on a recent media call with the British press, and he was asked about positive results from other athletes, including other boxers, that are quickly out of the headlines while Benn has been unable to find a way out of the news.

“Listen I ain’t going to cry about it, I’m not going to sit here and criticize UKAD or the Board either,” Benn continued. “I’m done with making enemies, I’m done with pointing fingers, I’m done with going back and forth. It’s taken a lot out on me, so I’m not here to go back and forth with people, it is what it is.” 

Benn had said that those licensed fighters, seen to have been involved or working and sparring with the unlicensed (in Britain) Benn, have been written to, asking them not to train with Benn, but the fighter said that has stopped. 

“No, there’s been no more emails to sparring partners,” Benn said. “I think numerous sparring partners, all of my stablemates and other fighters who have come down have all got emails saying, ‘If you spar Conor Benn, you could risk losing your license’. But then also reaching out to commissions in America saying, ‘Don’t give Conor Benn a license’, so I’m happy that that can’t be done now. I’m happy that I was cleared to fight six or seven months ago, seven months to a year ago I was cleared to fight and the suspension was lifted after the evidence that had been presented to the WBC who had cleared me.”

The WBC are a sanctioning body and they do not have jurisdiction to ban fighters or stop them for competing, only for them to be removed from their rankings or stripped of their titles. They have reinstated Benn into their welterweight rankings at No. 5.