Plans are already afoot to revive the fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn.
Benn returns to the ring at 154 pounds against Rodolfo Orozco on Saturday at Caribe Royale Orlando in Florida, on the undercard of the fight between Richardson Hitchins and Jose Zepeda.
He last fought in April 2022, when stopping Chris van Heerden at 147 pounds. He was then scheduled to fight Eubank Jr at a catchweight of 157 pounds last October, but three days before their date at London’s O2 Arena news of him testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug clomifene broke.
For all of his and Matchroom’s claims to the contrary, Benn, 26, is still to be cleared of any wrongdoing. A ruling in his favour by the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) in July meant his suspension being lifted, but UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), who had provisionally suspended him, have not yet officially cleared him, and confirmed that they were launching an appeal against the ruling from the NADP.
Matchroom – who alongside broadcasters DAZN were so recently denied a pay-per-view fight when a positive test for Dillian Whyte meant Whyte being replaced with Robert Helenius as Anthony Joshua’s opponent; Helenius also later tested positive – regardless plan to proceed to make an offer to Eubank Jr for a date in December.
They recognise that UKAD’s appeals means that there could yet be a ruling to contend with regarding the separate tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) in which Benn tested positive. The fighter has also not held a licence with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) since the aftermath of his positive tests.
“Our plan, ideally, is to fight Chris Eubank Jr in the UK in December,” said Eddie Hearn. “We’ve already had offers from a number of international venues to stage that fight, but I would like to try and make that fight in the UK. We’ll be making an offer to Kalle [Sauerland, Eubank Jr.’s promoter] and their team straight after this fight.
“We were made aware that there would be an appeal. We’ve heard nothing more – no dates. We’re not sure if that appeal will take place, or when. We will be speaking to the Board straight after this fight.”
Hearn explained that the relevant authorities overseeing Saturday’s fight – the Texas State Athletic Commission, the Florida Athletic Commission, which approved the widely condemned fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort in 2021, and the Association of Boxing Commissions – have collectively received approval from the BBBC. He at no point suggested that Matchroom had done so directly.
Benn is the significant favourite against the lightly regarded Orozco, 24 and of Mexico. His respected trainer Tony Sims, regardless, has joined him in Florida at the expense of being alongside Jordan Thompson in Essex for the final days of his preparations for his fight with IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia, on September 30.
Eubank Jr earlier this month revived his career by stopping Liam Smith in what was widely regarded his finest performance. His most lucrative potential opponent would unquestionably be Benn.