Eddie Hearn has revealed his one “regret” in his handling of Conor Benn’s failed drugs test in the days before Benn’s scheduled fight with Chris Eubank Jr.
Trace amounts of the fertility drug Clomiphene, which is known to elevate testosterone levels in men, had been found in Benn’s urine, leading to the British Boxing Board of Control prohibiting the fight and, in turn, promoters Matchroom and Wasserman Boxing releasing a joint statement insisting the fight would go ahead as planned.
The following day, however – two days before the two fighters were to meet at a catchweight at London’s O2 Arena – Matchroom said that it would be postponed.
Benn has denied intentionally or knowingly ingesting any banned substances, and has since relinquished his licence with the Board, who like UK Anti-Doping is still to clear him of any wrongdoing, but while his promoter insists that he believes his fighter is innocent, he also acknowledges that “mistakes” were made.
Hearn also said that the cancellation of the fight cost Matchroom in the region of £1m, and told Talksport: “The mistake that I made – and I believe the only mistake; I don’t believe it was handled perfectly by anybody – was when I rocked up to the workout on the Wednesday I’d literally received the letter from the British Boxing Board of Control an hour before, [and] I faced the media.
“Myself and Kalle Sauerland couldn’t believe this process had been going on for five weeks, and all of a sudden, ‘What are we going to do?’ I shouldn’t have said, ‘We’re looking at our options’. I should have just taken it – and I believe the Board made the right decision – I had the option, and so did Kalle, to proceed with the fight.
“What I said was, ‘Look, the British Boxing Board of Control have told us they don’t acknowledge VADA; they only acknowledge UKAD; he’s had four UKAD tests in the run-up to this fight, every one is negative; we need to consider our position’. That was a mistake.”
Hearn, regardless, claimed that Joshua Buatsi left Matchroom, for BOXXER, because he didn’t want to fight Dmitrii Bivol, the WBA light heavyweight champion.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, another fighter who, like Bivol and until recently Buatsi, 30, recently spoke of his desire to fight Bivol in a rematch, and Hearn said: “The reality is his team didn’t want the Dmitrii Bivol fight.
“Which isn’t a problem, but after that [long-term] investment and getting to that position, we don’t want another fight against a nobody where we’re going to bleed money.“