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Home » Full Clenbuterol ruling, relating to Canelo and more Mexican boxers

Full Clenbuterol ruling, relating to Canelo and more Mexican boxers

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A recent debate opened up following a ruling set by the World Boxing Council regarding adverse findings from Canelo Alvarez and other Mexican fighters.

Canelo was banned for six months in 2018, initially scuppering a second fight with Gennadiy Golovkin due to Clenbuterol in his system.

Outrage from boxing fans meant Canelo had to take his punishment. But just over a year later, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) amended the rules clearing the pound for pound king in the process.

A raise in the accepted levels, plus common sense being brought into the matter, means Canelo and his countrymen won’t be vilified for any adverse findings in the future.

Clenbuterol is ever-present in Mexican meat products. The subject has been a sore topic for the WBC due to their close ties to Mexico.

Accused of favoritism in the past, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman can now rest easy in the face of future cases.

WBN obtained a full copy of the WADA ruling, which was released in the late spring of this year.

On 16 May 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board decided to amend Article 7.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). This will allow WADA-accredited Laboratories (Laboratories) to report Atypical Findings (ATFs) for the Prohibited Substance clenbuterol.

Under the current version of Article 7.4 of the Code, Laboratories may only report analytical testing results for exogenous Prohibited Substances as Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) but not as ATFs. This does not allow for investigations to take place when potential meat contamination scenarios arise – as has been the case with clenbuterol.

As such, if the current Code is strictly followed, Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) are required to assert an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) against the athlete if the B sample results confirm the A sample findings (or the athlete waives the analysis of their B sample).

The purpose of the amendment to Article 7.4 of the Code – which will come into force on 1 June 2019. It is an interim solution until the 2021 Code and the forthcoming International Standard for Results Management (ISRM) come into effect. To provide ADOs with the possibility of conducting an investigation when low concentrations of identified Prohibited Substances that are known meat contaminants are detected by Laboratories and reported as ATFs.

This will ensure that valid meat contamination cases are dealt with fairly. Notably, it may prevent athletes from having their competition results disqualified as a result of eating contaminated meat.

In order to provide guidance to ADOs faced with potential meat contamination cases, WADA has developed a Stakeholder Notice regarding Meat Contamination (Notice). It details the reporting instructions for Laboratories depending on the concentration of clenbuterol detected in an athlete’s sample and includes the investigative steps that ADOs must follow in such situations.

After following the instructions and investigative steps indicated in the Notice, ADOs may close cases and allow an athlete to retain their results (for samples collected in-competition). This is if it is determined that the detection of clenbuterol in their sample is consistent with meat contamination. However, if following the investigation, the reported ATF is not consistent with meat contamination, or if the concentration of clenbuterol exceeds the designated threshold, an ADRV will be asserted and the standard results management process will proceed.

WADA hopes that the instructions found in the Notice and that the amendment to Article 7.4 of the Code will assist ADOs faced with potential clenbuterol meat contamination cases. And that it will ensure that cases are managed fairly for all athletes.

Please feel free to contact should you have any questions or concerns.


Over the last few days, WBN reached out to one of the few non-Mexican boxers to be troubled by the situation.

Australian Lucas Browne fell victim to Clenbuterol, unbeknown to himself. He has also since been fully cleared.

“I was found innocent. I was given my belt,” Browne told World Boxing News.

The likes of Luis Nery, Rey Vargas, Julio Cesar Martinez and Francisco Vargas have all since been relieved of any wrongdoing.