The WBC has confirmed that it will reinstate undefeated welterweight, Conor Benn, back into their respective welterweight rankings after the organisation accepted Benn’s “reasonable explanation” for his failed VADA doping tests for the substance, Clomiphene.
It was confirmed last year that Benn twice tested positive for the substance in July and September of last year with the latter positive test leading to the cancellation of last October’s highly anticipated showdown with Chris Eubank Jr. However despite the WBC reinstatement of Benn into the world ratings at welterweight, he still remains under investigation by the British Boxing Board Of Control and UKAD. No suspension has been handed to Benn by the BBBofC at the time of publication and it should also be noted that Benn currently does not possess a BBBofC licence to box in the UK. General secretary, Robert Smith, suggested last week that Benn would not be able to box in the UK until his innocence was proven.
The WBC released a statement regarding Benn’s readmittance and the reasoning behind their decision.
“Conor Benn completed his enrollment process in the WBC Clean Boxing Program in February of 2022. Enrollment in the WBC CBP is mandatory for all fighters rated in the top 15 in the WBC Ratings. Accordingly, he was enrolled in the WBC CBP’s out-of-competition anti-doping testing in July of 2022, when the collection of the samples to which the WBC Ruling being announced herein pertains took place.
“On August 23, 2022, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (“VADA”) notified Mr. Benn and the World Boxing Council (“WBC”) that the urine “A Sample” collected from him on July 25, 2022, in connection with his participation in the WBC/VADA anti-doping testing program yielded an adverse analytical finding for Clomiphene and its hydroxymetabolites MI and M2.
“Clomiphene and its metabolites are banned substances at all times under the WBC CBP. Clomiphene is a metabolic modulator which promotes testosterone production and boost testosterone levels while burning fat.
“On August 30, 2022, the WBC notified Mr. Benn of the Adverse Finding and requested information and materials necessary to investigate the circumstances thereof. The WBC did not receive a substantive response until December of 2022.
“Mr. Benn denied at all times the intentional or knowingly ingestion of any banned substances. His defense against the Adverse Finding centered on allegations of potential laboratory analysis failures and irregularities in connection with the analysis of his samples and of the results of the samples’ testing. The WBC consulted several experts in anti-doping laboratory analysis, including an expert consultant with over 30 years of experience in WADA and IOC accredited laboratory settings. The WBC concluded that there was absolutely no fault attributable to the laboratory that analyzed Mr. Benn’s samples. Further, the WBC reaffirms the unquestionable integrity of VADA and the sample collection agencies and laboratories which services VADA uses in connection with the WBC CBP.
“It was not until early January of 2023, that the WBC Results Management Unit was able to undertake the full, substantive analysis of Mr. Benn`s arguments and defenses. On January 26, 2023, members of the WBC Results Management Unit held an inquiry session with Mr. Benn and members of his legal team. In early February of 2023, Mr. Benn’s team for the first time provided a detailed breakdown of Mr. Benn’s diet and supplement consumption that could have directly affected the Adverse Finding.
“The WBC availed itself of the services of an expert nutritionist. The WBC experts provided information about the characteristics of the substance at issue in this case and examples of similar adverse findings in several sports, under a diverse number of anti-doping programs.
“The WBC Board of Governor’s ruling was based on: (1) the facts as known to the WBC at the time of the ruling; (2) any extenuating circumstances applicable to the specific case at hand; (3) WBC rulings in precedential anti-doping violation cases; (4) the unbiased, common-sensical and just analysis and recommendations of the WBC Results Management Unit; and (5) credible and reliable health-related and scientific literature.
“The WBC found that: (1) there was no conclusive evidence that Mr. Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene; (2) there were no failures in the procedures related to sample collection, sample analysis, or violations of Mr. Benn’s B Sample rights that would justify questioning or invalidating the Adverse Finding; and (3) Mr. Benn’s documented and highly-elevated consumption of eggs during the times relevant to the sample collection, raised a reasonable explanation for the Adverse Finding.
“The WBC Nutrition Committee will work with Mr. Benn’s team to design a nutrition program geared to avoid the risk of a future adverse finding caused by nutritional factors. Mr. Benn shall be subjected to regular anti-doping testing to monitor the effect of the WBC-ordered nutritional program.
“The WBC shall include Mr. Benn in its ratings during the period immediately following the issuance of its ruling. Mr. Benn’s position in the WBC Ratings shall be based solely on his merit and the customary factors the WBC Ratings Committee apply to rating boxers.
“The WBC will establish a line of communication with WADA regarding the WBC’s concern about Clomiphene as a food contaminant and the potential of false positives caused by ingestion of contaminated food.”