Beterbiev accuses Smith of searching for excuses following VADA clearance

Unified world light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev has insisted he is a clean athlete following atypical findings for human growth hormone (HGH) and 5D-androstanediol. 

The findings showed up on a VADA-administered anti-doping test conducted on December 6.

Reporter Kevin Iole revealed Beterbiev’s analytical findings for the substances on January 11.

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) defends his unified WBC, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles against Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) this weekend in Quebec City. The bout had been originally scheduled to take place in August 2023, but was pushed back several months after Beterbiev sustained a jaw infection. 

Following Beterbiev’s analytical finding, VADA conducted further testing and examinations, which is the standard procedure for finding atypicall findings of HGH and 5D-androstanediol. Both substances are produced naturally by the body and “require further testing to examine if an athlete naturally produces the substance in his or her body at a greater level than average or if the elevated levels were signs of anti-doping.”

Beterbiev was subject to further VADA tests, with urine samples collected from Beterbiev on December 15 and 21. Blood samples were also collected on December 21 and January 3. 

All samples were negative.

Following his clearance, Beterbiev issued a statement reiterating that he is a clean athlete and accusing Smith of misleading the press and public.

“It has come to my attention that Callum Smith intends to disseminate misleading information about my VADA testing for this fight,” Beterbiev said. “Let me be clear now – I am a clean athlete. 

“I have never tested positive for a banned substance throughout my career. Any attempt to imply otherwise, through innuendo or suggestion, is slanderous and libelous. This conduct is beyond acceptable trash talk. 

“Callum is already searching for excuses, looking for a way out. See you Saturday.”

Speaking to ProBox TV, Eddie Hearn believed that the testing result rulings should be clearer and simpler to understand. In Hearn’s words, testing results should be “absolutely fine or it is a positive test.”

“That is what I don’t like about it,” Hearn said, regarding the gray area around analytical findings. “For me, it should be one to the other. It is either a test that is absolutely fine [negative] or it is a positive test [result].

“To alert us with that information, we have to then look into that for the safety of our fighter. If you go to it has all the results from all the tests, you can do your own research.

“We are not scientists, but when you read it you go, ‘what the fuck.’ I was just pleased yesterday that the information came out. We’ve known this information since the middle of December, but it hadn’t been released.”