'I don’t think he should be boxing' - Says Robert Smith, the British Boxing Board of Control Secretary
Conor Benn’s upcoming fight this weekend has stirred controversy, with concerns raised about his eligibility to compete. Benn has faced two instances of testing positive for a banned substance, and the matter remains unresolved.
Despite Eddie Hearn, Benn’s promoter, claiming that Benn is cleared to fight in September, the British Boxing Board of Control Secretary, Robert Smith, has refuted these assertions. Currently, an appeal is underway regarding the lifting of Benn’s provisional suspension by the UK’s National Anti-Doping Panel, and a final decision has yet to be reached.
Rather than waiting for the outcome of the investigation, Benn and Hearn pursued a license from the Texas Athletic Commission in the United States. This move was driven by the absence of a unified governing body in boxing to prevent individuals suspected of cheating from participating.
Texas has granted Benn permission to fight, even though controversy surrounds the welterweight boxer.
Smith firmly believes that Benn should not be seeking to continue his boxing career until a final ruling is issued on the test results. There is still a significant possibility that Benn may face suspension in the UK.
Smith expressed his disappointment, saying:
“Although it’s a sport, we don’t deal with teams, we deal with individuals. And sometimes people look after themselves rather than the sport in general, which is slightly disappointing,” Smith told talkSPORT.
“I understand why they do it. But no, I don’t think he should be boxing. Personally, I don’t think he should be boxing until this matter is cleared.
“Hopefully, that’ll be done as soon as possible,” he added.
Responding to several announcements by Hearn and Benn that he’s cleared his name, Smith gave a damning verdict on that insistence.
“He hasn’t cleared it [his name]. There are a number of issues that are still outstanding, which everybody’s aware of.
“We’ve decided to appeal a decision. Once the appeal has taken place, we’ll take it on board from there.
“But when Eddie says he’s cleared his name, according to us, we haven’t had an explanation of how the positive test came about. So I don’t quite agree with Eddie on that one.”
Smith disputed claims made by Hearn and Benn that Benn’s name has been cleared. He highlighted that several issues related to the positive test results are still pending resolution and that an appeal is in progress.
This weekend, Benn is scheduled to fight Rodolfo Orozco in Orlando, Florida, under the Texas Athletic Commission’s jurisdiction. However, the cloud of controversy stemming from two separate positive tests for the same banned substance, clomifene, still hangs over him.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) acknowledged that contaminated supplements might have caused Benn’s adverse findings, leading to the cancellation of his fight with Chris Eubank Jr. last October. Benn disagreed with this explanation. Although the WBC reinstated Benn in their rankings in April, he was removed again in July due to inactivity.
Benn’s return to the ring this weekend is accompanied by unresolved issues and the possibility of suspension by the British Boxing Board of Control, which could raise further questions about his situation.