Two families were to be reunited in the ring once again after nearly 30 years, but the upcoming bout between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn has been postponed at the eleventh hour.
Back in 1990, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn fought the first of their two fights with Eubank coming out on top. Three years later, the pair fought again with the fight resulting in a draw.
Nearly 30 years later, their two sons were expected to fight in a bout billed as ‘Born Rivals’ with Eubank Jr, 33, tipped to win against the 26-year-old opponent.
The pair had agreed to meet at a set weight of 157lbs meaning Eubank Jr would be forced down 3lbs from his middleweight category while Benn would be forced up 10lbs from his welterweight division.
However, on Wednesday 5 October 2022, it was announced Conor Benn had returned what was described as an ‘adverse’ drug test, as traces of the fertility drug clomifene were reportedly found in his system.
After 24 hours of contradictory statements between promoters and the British Boxing Board of Control, the fight has now officially been postponed.
What have the promoters said?
Initially, Eddie Hearn’s matchroom released a statement which suggested that despite the ‘adverse’ result, the fight would still go ahead as technically Benn had not violated any rules or drug tests provided by the UK Anti-Doping Agency.
However, this decision has been reversed and Hearn released a statement on Twitter saying:
“After discussions with various parties, we have taken the decision to formally postpone the bout between Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn.
“It is undeniable that the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision to withdraw their sanctioning was procedurally flawed and without due process.
“That remains a legal issue between the promoters and the Board whic we intend to pursue.
“However, whilst there are legal routes to facilitate the fight taking place as planned, we do not believe that it is in the fighters’ interests for those to be pursued at such a late stage, or in the wider interests of the sport.
“As promoters, we take our obligations and duties very seriously, and a full investigation will now need to take place.”
What did the BBBoC say?
The BBBoC released a statement yesterday in which they confirmed they would prohibit the fight, contradicting the promoters’ earlier messages claiming the fight would continue as planned.
On Twitter, it was said that: “On the evening of 4th October 2022, the Board of the British Boxing Board of Control Limited resolved that the contest between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn scheduled to take place on 8th October 2022 is prohibited as it is not in the interests of Boxing. That was communicated to the Boxers and Promoters involved on the morning of 5th October 2022.”
How can ticket-holders reclaim their tickets?
Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed how ticket holders can claim refunds for their briefs.
He said: “Tickets will be available for customers to refund immediately from the 02 arena or point of purchase and we will be back in touch with the media and the public soon in terms of a new scheduled date for this fight.”
Why was there so much contradiction?
Conor Benn’s drug test was taken by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency rather than the UK Anti-Doping Agency and it was therefore believed he had not violated any rules pertaining to the UK ADA and therefore to the fight.
While clomifene - the drug Benn is reported to have taken - is not officially banned by UK ADA, it is prohibited by the VADA and World Anti-doping Agency.
Clomifene is a drug usually used to treat infertility in females who do not ovulate and females with polycistic ovary syndrome (PCOS) however when it is taken by men, it is found to increase their testosterone.