‘Big Daddy’ travelled to Grozny in Chechnya to rip away Ruslan Chagaev’s ‘regular’ WBA belt on March 5 only to return home to the news that he failed a post-fight drugs test conducted by reputable agency VADA.
Hatton is now concentrating on trying to clear Browne’s name by investigating the timeline of events leading up to the sample being taken and says the big-puncher had been up against it from the word go.
“We have been through a great deal with Lucas Browne. Together we overcame many hurdles to get his chance to fight for the heavyweight championship of the World within just four years,” said Hatton.
“Lucas himself overcame significant hurdles on the night itself to become victorious. We would remind everyone hat the sixth round, Lucas’ most difficult of the fight having been on the floor, was extended by some 36 seconds by the timekeeper in Chechnya to give their champion extra time to try to end the fight.
“Clearly that was intentional and Lucas overcame it. We will do all that we can to overcome this newest hurdle to ensure justice prevails and Lucas has our complete support in this regard.”
As Browne and Hatton have decided not to request testing of a B sample taken by VADA, the WBA seem to have no choice but to remove the championship from the new title holder.
Whether Chagaev is given the belt back is up for debate and would come with considerable scrutiny as Browne is now the second opponent in a row to travel to Chechnya and return a positive result.
Fres Oquendo was granted a second chance at the title by the WBA, even after a failed test in July last year, and could face Chagaev again for the vacant belt. A neutral venue could be stipulated by the organisation though in order to avoid further controversy in the future.