29
Oct
2020

Boxer pleads for UKAD leniency, suicidal thoughts end in overdose drama

Liam Cameron

Sheffield boxer Liam Cameron has received a wave of support after honestly revealing his current battle with depression, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts.

Cameron was banned for four years by the UK Anti-Doping Agency for a cocaine test given in 2018. Only traces of the drug were found in competition.

The adverse finding had never been the bone of contention for the 29-year-old, though. It’s the length of the sentence.

‘Cannonball’ was handed the maximum four-year sentence for the offense and certainly faces losing the peak portion of his career.

At the time of the suspension, UKAD’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said there was a zero-tolerance policy.

“There are significant and valid reasons why cocaine is named on WADA’s Prohibited List. Cocaine is banned In-Competition and athletes are solely responsible for what is in their system,” she said.

“Whilst often viewed as a recreational drug, it can have performance enhancing effects, and there are significant health risks associated with its use.

“In addition, its use during competition can pose a very real risk to other competitors, this is especially so in contact and combat sports.”

Releasing a heartfelt plea over the weekend, Cameron stated due to not having boxing in his life, this had impacted his mental health and turned him to drinking heavily and drugs.

In recent drama, Cameron was taken to hospital due to an overdose.

“I’ll be 31 when my ban is up,” pointed out Cameron in a follow-up. (I could) have a great run and win a British title.

“(But) I’m such a bum at (the) min. A fat c— and alcoholic. Do I get training ready (for 2022)? – I need a challenger,” he added.

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Prior to the ban, Cameron had scored his two biggest victories and was firmly on the up. But suddenly, he was retiring.

“I tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a dose of a tenth of a recreational line,” he explained at the time. “UKAD offered me 18 months to go guilty but I couldn’t admit to something I haven’t done. So I was told I am banned for four years.

“I will be retiring from boxing. Writing this is killing me, my dream I have worked for from eight years has been shattered.”

Sapstead gave a follow-up interview to sntv whilst the recent Dillian Whyte case was ongoing. Whyte was eventually cleared.

She explained why there was such a difference in those cases.

“I understand that to the public, it might look strange, but we do treat each case as a case,” Sapstead told Neil Barker. “We have to hear the arguments that are presented and the merits of the case and each case will turn on its own facts.


APPLES & PEARS

“So it is wrong and illogical to compare apples (say, the Whyte case) with pears (say, the Cameron case). Unfortunately, we very rarely get apples you can compare with apples.

“It’s a very complex world that we operate in. The rules are complex. Navigating through any litigation is complex.”

Furthermore, the period of Ineligibility for Cameron commenced on 25 May 2018. It will end on 24 May 2022 inclusive, according to UKAD.

A wave of support has since been aimed at Cameron as he bids to salvage the best part of his career.