IT has always been something of a freak show.
A match between two opposite-weight boxers who would never have garnered such hype – or such large sums of money – if it weren’t for their fathers’ famous rivalry.
But after Conor Benn failed a drugs test and his promoter Eddie Hearn insisted his altercation with Chris Eubank Jr. would take place at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, this freak show became a sick joke.
The British Boxing Board of Control said they had already informed both camps that the fight was banned before news broke of Benn’s failed test at midday yesterday.
Yet Hearn, Eubank promoter Kalle Sauerland and both boxers continue to claim the fight will take place — perhaps after a legal battle, perhaps under the jurisdiction of the Luxembourg or Malta boards, perhaps as mere dust on the cobblestones outside North tube station Greenwich.
What a shameful, ridiculous day for the “fine” art.
Boxing is the most dangerous sport but has the fastest and loosest relationship with anti-doping rules.
If a sprinter or weightlifter ingests a banned substance, he may cheat his rivals, but he will not endanger their lives.
Boxing is very different. And these men know only too well that they are part of a deadly trade.
Nigel Benn, father of Conor, almost killed Gerald McClellan in the ring.
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Chris Eubank Sr. almost killed Michael Watson in the ring. Eubank Jr. almost killed Nick Blackwell in the ring as recently as 2016.
I sat with the two Eubanks in a Brighton gym and asked them what it’s like to almost kill a man and how you go on boxing after an experience like that.
It was one of the most frightening, if darkly fascinating, conversations I’ve ever had.
Eubank Sr, whose two epic fights with Benn Sr brought the nation to a standstill in the early 1990s, has refused to have anything to do with the promotion of Saturday’s fight, claiming he fears his son could die due to the suffered brain damage from excessive weight loss to meet the catch weight of 157 pounds.
Maybe he knew or suspected something was wrong.
Benn tested positive for clomiphene, a banned substance that can increase testosterone levels.
He is an undefeated welterweight. Eubank, a middleweight or super middleweight, usually fights a stone or half stone heavier.
Catchweight fights already have additional dangers before you throw in a failed drug test.
Yet knowing they’ll likely never get another fight that lucrative, both fighters claim the show will go on.
Sauerland and Hearn – another man who swapped the name of a famous father, Barry – issued a statement that read: “The B sample has yet to be tested, which means no rule violation has been confirmed.
“In fact, Mr Benn has not been charged with a rule violation, he has not been suspended and he can continue to fight.
“Both fighters have received medical and legal advice… and intend to continue fighting.”
I love the use of “Mr. Benn” by the way. It couldn’t have been more fantastic if the shopkeeper had appeared in a costume shop as if by magic.
Just last week, Hearn pulled Josh Buatsi out of a light heavyweight title eliminator with Jean Pascal, citing concerns his potential opponent had not signed up for Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing.
This came after Hearn lost a purse bid to stage that fight. Still, he didn’t sound so harsh on the whole anti-doping issue.
Given the long and notorious list of boxers who have previously failed drug tests, we shouldn’t have expected less.
And while the BBBofC showed a rare show of “control” by refusing to sanction the fight, other boxing organizations weren’t having such a good day.
The International Boxing Association – which has a Russian president and is sponsored by Gazprom – lifted its ban on boxers from Russia and Belarus after banning the Ukrainian federation last week.
Just another sewage storm in a festering cesspool of a sport.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6377516/conor-benn-chris-eubank-jr-boxing-dave-kidd/ The freak show Benn vs. Eubank Jr. is nothing but a cesspool immersed in a sick joke with the “noble” art of boxing