Conor Benn has some “serious concerns” over boxing’s drug testing after he was cleared of a failed test due to a “highly-elevated consumption of eggs.”
Conor Benn was scheduled to fight with Chris Eubank Jr. last year in what was set to be a career defining moment for both men. However, the fight never took place due to Benn failing a drug test and testing positive for clomiphene; a fertility drug used by women who struggle to ovulate.
In February 2023, the World Boxing Council (WBC) issued a statement in which they cleared Benn of any wrongdoing, explaining that while his urine test showed the presence of prohibited substances, his “highly-elevated consumption of eggs prior to testing offered a reasonable explanation for his failed test.”
The WBC stated that Benn could return to the sport, however, Benn criticized the investigation and raised concerns regarding the transparency of the process from the WBC and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBCofC); the governing body for professional boxing in Great Britain. Benn took to Instagram to make a statement.
“The manner in which I’ve been cleared has seemed to create further questions and add further fuel to baseless negative speculation.”
According to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), clomiphene in men can “potentially boost testosterone levels by interfering with the negative feedback loop of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.”
In Benn’s statement, he addressed the overall ruling, stating that he was “grateful for the ultimate finding of being declared innocent of being a drugs cheat,” but he felt the need to comment on the investigation as a whole.
“It was the right decision and it was the only one I was willing to accept. The easy option would have been to accept a six month ban, save myself a huge legal bill and simply move on, because my reputation and my family name is worth more to me than that. At no point did I indicate that I failed any VADA tests because of contaminated eggs,” Benn wrote, referring to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
“As part of its lengthy investigation, the WBC instructed its own experts to review my supplements and diet, and they concluded that egg contamination was the most likely cause,” he wrote, revealing he submitted a 270-page report to the WBC.
“However, I feel like the WBC statement did a disservice to my defense, which was based upon a comprehensive scientific review of the testing procedures which set out a number of reasons why we believed the results were completely unreliable and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that I am innocent.”
Benn is still under investigation by the UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the BBCofC, and went on to criticize the BBCofC’s handling of his case:
“As for the BBBoC, they attacked me publicly and privately during the most difficult time in my life, treating me with utter contempt and without any consideration for the fair process or my mental state.”
“Anti-doping protections are obviously extremely important, but so is ensuring people are given due proves and presumed innocent until proven guilty. Cheaters should be caught and punished, but people like me who prove their innocence should be vindicated and allowed to continue their career.”
The BBCofC, however, released their own statement claiming that they haven’t received any evidence provided on Benn’s half.
“[We] respect the WBC, the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body. The BBCofC was the governing body with whom Mr. Benn was licensed at the material time, and as such any alleged anti-doping violation shall be dealt with in accordance with its rules and regulations. The decision of the WBC does not affect the ongoing implantation of the BBCofC’s rules (and those of UKAD).”
The ruling made last month by the WBC claimed that there were “no failures in the procedures” used throughout Benn’s investigation. Benn, however, claimed there was a lack of transparency throughout the entire process, stating that his sample tested negative three times, but was tested again nine days later, resulting in a positive test result, despite there being no explanation as to why the sample was re-tested.
Benn also explained in an interview with Piers Morgan that the entire ordeal has led to him struggling mentally.
“I didn’t think I’d see another day. It’s hurt me, I didn’t think I was going to make it through this period. I didn’t think I was going to make it through.”
When asked if he had felt suicidal, Benn replied: “Yeah. Yeah, I’d say so – and it upsets me now because I don’t know how I got so bad. I got in a really bad way about it. I was shamed for something I hadn’t even done. … If I had done something wrong, I’m human. I’d raise my hands to it, ‘I made a mistake,’ whatever it is, I raise my hands. Never this.
“I felt seven years of hard work and sacrifice, and leaving my family and the image I maintain, was just ruined by somebody else’s incompetence. It’s been hard for the family.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.