(Reuters) -British welterweight Conor Benn on Friday said he is free to resume his boxing career after being cleared by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) following an investigation into two failed voluntary drugs tests last year.
Benn, 26, was scheduled to take on Chris Eubank Jr last October in London in a much-hyped fight between the sons of two former arch-rivals but it was called off after he returned a finding for trace amounts of fertility drug clomifene.
He was subsequently cleared of intentional doping by the WBC boxing body, which said a “highly elevated consumption of eggs” was a reasonable explanation for the failed tests, but was provisionally suspended by UKAD in April.
“Today marks the end of a gruelling 10 month process, during which the WBC had already decided that I was innocent of any wrongdoing,” the son of former super-middleweight world champion Nigel Benn said in a statement on social media.
“After a hearing with the National Anti-Doping Panel and UKAD, I have now been vindicated for the second time. Hopefully the public and various Members of the media can now understand why I have maintained my innocence so strongly all the way through.
“The UKAD process has now formally ended, and I remain free to fight. Naturally I am pleased that I can now put this behind me once and for all.”
Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn also announced that Benn had been cleared, saying in a video on Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel: “The nightmare, the chapter, is over. He can get back to his career.
“I hope everybody now can support the fact that he’s gone through absolutely every process that was ever asked of him. He’s done it all and it’s over.”
UKAD said in a press release later on Friday that Benn was no longer under suspension.
“UKAD can confirm Mr Benn is no longer provisionally suspended under the UK Anti-Doping Rules,” a UKAD spokesperson said.
The organisation added that it has 21 days to evaluate its intention to challenge the ruling made by the autonomous National Anti-Doping Panel.
Benn was removed from the WBC’s world rankings this month, with the body’s president Mauricio Sulaiman telling Sky Sports the boxer was dropped due to a 15-month period of inactivity.
Benn can have his status in the rankings reinstated following an appeal process.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Tommy Lund in GdanskEditing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)