Conor Benn fails drugs test before fight against Chris Eubank Jnr

Conor Benn has failed a drugs test, throwing Saturday’s blockbuster fight with Chris Eubank Jr into disarray.

Sportsmail can exclusively reveal the 26-year-old was notified he had returned an adverse finding for the banned substance clomifene.

The substance, which is usually used to treat infertility in women but can increase testosterone in men, is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It is understood Benn’s test was carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

It is not yet clear whether Benn’s situation will trigger a cancellation of this weekend’s blockbuster with Eubank Jr, which falls almost 30 years after the second of two iconic fights between their fathers, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank.

Eubank Jr still wants the bout to go ahead. A statement from promoters Wasserman Boxing and matchroom, in response to Sportsmail’s exclusive this morning, read: ‘Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice, are aware of all relevant information, and wish to proceed with the bout this Saturday.’

The fight is believed to be worth a six-figure fee to each fighter. 

The British Boxing Board of Control, who are overseeing the fight, and Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn have been contacted for comment.

Conor Benn (pictured this week with wife Victoria) is due to fight Chris Eubank Jr this Saturday but has failed a drugs test

Benn's fight at the O2 is the biggest of his career so far

Conor Benn, who is due to fight Chris Eubank Jr this Saturday, has failed a drugs test

Benn and his boxer father Nigel are pictured ahead of the 26-year-old fight this weekend

Benn and his boxer father Nigel are pictured ahead of the 26-year-old fight this weekend

WHAT IS CLOMIFENE? 

Clomifene is a powerful female fertility medicine which doubles as a performance enhancer.

It stimulates egg production in women, giving those struggling to conceive the best chance of getting pregnant.

Yet, studies suggest that when given to men as a daily pill, clomiphene triggers the production of testosterone.

Testosterone has a key role in tissue healing, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the injury site, aiding repair. However, it also makes it easier to put on muscle and offers a physical boost, hence why it is a banned substance in the world of athletics.

In January, Benn, a welterweight on a rocketing trajectory owing to his perfect 21-0 record, was briefly removed from the WBC world rankings for failing to enrol in their clean-athlete programme.

At the time he said in a statement: ‘The World Boxing Council (WBC) have temporarily removed me from their January rankings and have requested in order for me to continue being ranked under the WBC governing body I must officially enrol in the WBC Clean Boxing Program supported by VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association).

‘I can confirm I have instructed my team who are now in the process of enrolling me. I wanted to address this personally for the boxing community and my fans.

‘It’s important to me as a professional athlete to enrol in a clean testing programme and play my part in keeping our sport safe along with having my name stated in top five positions across all governing bodies.’

Benn is currently ranked fifth with the WBC and in the top five with the other three major sanctioning bodies.

Clomifene is listed on both WADA and VADA’s prohibited lists under ‘hormone and metabolic modulators’.

Wasserman and matchroom’s joint statement today read: ‘We have been made aware that a random anti-doping test for Conor Benn conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug.

‘The B sample has yet to be tested, meaning that no rule violation has been confirmed. Indeed, Mr Benn has not been charged with any rule violation, he is not suspended and he remains free to fight.

‘Mr Benn has since passed a doping control test conducted by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, the anti-doping authority to which the British Board of Boxing Control has delegated its doping control testing for the bout. Mr Benn has passed all doping control tests conducted by UKAD.

Benn is moving up almost two weight classes for Saturday’s fight against his bigger rival Eubank Jr.

Benn is due to fight Eubank Jr (left) in Saturday night's big fight at the O2 Arena in London

Benn is due to fight Eubank Jr (left) in Saturday night’s big fight at the O2 Arena in London

Saturday's fight was due to fall almost 30 years after the second of two iconic fights between their fathers, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank (pictured)

Saturday’s fight was due to fall almost 30 years after the second of two iconic fights between their fathers, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank (pictured)

Eubank is a career middleweight at 160lb, while Benn usually fights at 147lb. Saturday’s fight is set at 157lb.

Last month Benn said: ‘I’m eating a lot. There’s plenty of things you can eat. I don’t eat a lot of meat, I’m not a massive fan but I’ll have steak on Saturdays.

‘I’m able to eat what I want, as long as it is healthy and clean.’

Saturday’s fight is due to be live on streaming service DAZN, with non-subscribers paying out £27.98 to watch. £7.99-per-month subscribers are charged an additional £19.99 to watch.

In an interview with The Telegraph this week, Eubank Jr said: ‘As fighters we take chances, we gamble, and I don’t believe Conor is going to be able to take me into deep waters.

Benn is pictured in the fight's build-up, which is due to see him move up two weight classes

Benn is pictured in the fight’s build-up, which is due to see him move up two weight classes

Wasserman Boxing and matchroom issued a joint statement after Sportsmail's exclusive

Wasserman Boxing and matchroom issued a joint statement after Sportsmail’s exclusive

‘Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t feel that that’s what he’s going to be able to do, so I agreed to this weight.

‘If I was going in there with someone that I considered a killer, I would never do anything like this, I just don’t see that pedigree or grade from Conor so I’m taking the risk of cutting to a weight I’ve never been before and I’m taking the risk of not being able to fully hydrate after the fight.

‘Is it a concern? I mean I guess so yeah, I’ve never had to do anything like this in my career so I don’t know how my body is going to react, I don’t know how I’m going to feel on the night, I know I’m not going to be 100 per cent.’

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