Conor Benn remains in a whirlwind of publicity over his failed drug test, which led to the cancelation of his fight last Saturday at The O2 Arena.
“The Destroyer” finds himself embroiled in a potential scandal that could result in a four-year ban from the sport of boxing.
Not only did fans miss out on the main card topped by a catchweight fight with Chris Eubank Jr. in London, but the events leading up to the collapse of the October 8 bout put British boxing ethics in the eye of the storm.
Benn was attempting to move up from welterweight to middleweight for a grudge match with Eubank Jr. Days before the British showdown, the results of an adverse finding leaked to the UK press.
They revealed that Benn, who called the clash “the biggest fight of my career,” had tested positive on September 23rd, with all those involved in the fight knowing about the findings.
Since then, Benn’s father, Nigel Benn [who flew over from Australia to train], claimed his son was a clean athlete. At the same time, the doctor who stated on his website that he worked with Benn for the camp deleted his social media, website, and podcast.
What did Conor Benn’s doctor say about doping?
Even more shocking is that Dr. Usman Sajjad had discussed ‘doping tricks’ in online videos uncovered since the revelations.
Those clips are still readily available and give an insight into just how big the problem may be in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Sajjad stated that “80 to 90 percent” of the top boxers in the world could be using substances to boost their performance.
Sportmail, who documented the words stated by Sajjad, also spoke to the British Boxing Board of Control and Dr. Sajjad’s legal team.
On what Sajjad actually said, it’s a damning conversation if a true reflection of the current culture in British boxing.
“If you are an elite level boxer, you know, Pay Per View, world-class, European level, 80 to 90 percent are doing it [doping] from what I’m seeing.
“When I say doping, it’s not just steroids. You’ve got IV fluid infusion after weigh-ins. You’ve got diuretics, you’ve got growth hormones, you’ve got testosterone replacements.
“In terms of excuses, I don’t really believe them. Athletes know what’s going to happen if they fail.”
Urine tests are easier to beat than blood
Sajjad stated that passing the urine tests was more straightforward than blood tests.
“A lot of times in how the drug testing system works, a lot of the fights in the UK, it’s all urine testing. But you have to be an idiot to fail a drug test in England because urine testing is just 72 hours.
“You would have to take drugs two to three days before your fight. The urine test is after a fight.
“Whereas the one that trips up a lot of athletes is if you sign up for random drug testing, which WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] does.
“They will track you where you are and can turn up to your house whenever and do a blood test. A blood test can catch things that have been there for a month.”
Getting around blood testing
On how a fighter can get around the blood testing, Sajjad added: “You can get around the random drug testing because between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, they are not allowed to come to your house.
“Many athletes can take fast-acting testosterone or growth hormones. They can only be in your body for seven to eight hours.
“You could take it at 9-10 pm. It would be out of your system by 7 am. There are ways to get around it. A lot of tricks.”
When approached with his client’s words, Dr. Sajjad’s solicitor released a short statement.
“The sacrosanct rules governing the confidentiality of a doctor-patient relationship. So there can be no comment whatsoever concerning Conor Benn.
“However, Dr. Usman categorically denies any wrongdoing that has been laid against him over the internet.
“This is why he has taken down his social media sites after receiving vile and untruthful abuse.
“Dr. Usman has never had any present or historical involvement in the supply of PEDS to any third party.”
Conor Benn investigation
Meanwhile, the BBBofC’s General Secretary Robert Smith acknowledged Sajjad’s controversial interview.
“We obviously will be investigating his comments which we take very seriously.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn has admitted for the first time this week that Benn will have to fight his way out of the corner he’s currently backed into at the moment.
“He’s got a big fight on his hands. A lot of information we know about the testing will come to light.
“Conor will have the right to clear his name. People should let him do that.”
UK fans are speculating whether Chris Eubank Sr. had anything to do with a newspaper getting wind of the test results.
But even then, it was covered up for eleven days. It may never have been revealed until after the fight. That alone is far worse.
There’s no doubt that Benn’s reputation is at stake. His career is firmly on the line.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.