Chris Eubank Jr vs Conor Benn officially OFF after lawyers fail to resurrect fight

This weekend’s highly anticipated clash between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn at is officially off.

The iconic match-up was plunged into doubt on Wednesday, after Sportsmail broke the bombshell news that Benn had tested positive for banned substance clomifene. 

Co-promoters Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland – as well as both Eubank Jr and Benn – on Wednesday insisted they still planned for the fight to go ahead, which sources reiterated to Sportsmail on Thursday morning. 

How the fight would actually go ahead remained to be seen, however, following an announcement from the British Boxing Board of Control stating the bout was prohibited from taking place.

Hearn’s Matchroom company challenged the Board’s refusal to sanction the fight, with the promoter insisting ‘there’s no reason, in terms of suspension, or violations, the fight should not take place’.

However, following extensive legal talks on Thursday afternoon, the decision to call off the bout was finally made.

No official announcement has yet been made, though one is expected imminently, with what happens to the rest of the card yet to be revealed.   

The fight, as well as being a legacy bout, also carried a huge financial incentive, with tens of millions of pounds now lost. Both Eubank Jr and Benn were on six-figure purses. 

This weekend's fight between Chris Eubank Jr (left) and Conor Benn (right) is officially off

This weekend’s fight between Chris Eubank Jr (left) and Conor Benn (right) is officially off

Benn tested positive for banned substance clomifene in the build-up to the mega-fight

Benn tested positive for banned substance clomifene in the build-up to the mega-fight

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn had remained adamant the fight should still go ahead

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn had remained adamant the fight should still go ahead 

The banned substance, clomifene, is designed primarily to aid women in fertility, but it is also known to provide steroid boosts for muscle development and rapid recovery from training among other benefits.

Yet Hearn, after the adverse findings were revealed to the public, insisted Benn could not be suspended by the Board and that the fight should go ahead as planned. 

That’s because the test Benn failed was by VADA, but the British Boxing Board of Control is governed by the UK Anti-Doping Agency, who are typically contracted by the boxers and promoters for a five-figure fee prior to a fight.

The 26-year-old, according to Hearn, passed all doping control tests by UKAD – including one taken after the adverse finding. 

With anticipation legal manoeuvres against the Board could fall short, there were figures involved in the fight who were open to pursuing options with a foreign sanctioning body – multiple sources have said as many as three would be under consideration – but Hearn shot down that possibility on Thursday.

Sportsmail's Riath Al-Samarrai broke the exclusive of Benn's positive drugs test on Wednesday

Sportsmail’s Riath Al-Samarrai broke the exclusive of Benn’s positive drugs test on Wednesday

Eubank Jr was present at Wednesday's public workout and insisted he was still willing to fight

Eubank Jr was present at Wednesday’s public workout and insisted he was still willing to fight

Hearn told Sportsmail: ‘We have no desire to use a foreign authority.’

Hearn subsequently tweeted: ‘Let’s see what today brings but to make one thing clear, I will not be promoting this fight with a foreign commission or alternative governing body on Saturday night.’

His comments followed claims from multiple sources that the fight was ‘near certain’ to go ahead.

That has now proven not to be the case, however, following the cancellation of the fight on Thursday afternoon. 

Benn, who appeared at Wednesday’s public workout despite the circumstances, protested his innocence.

He said: ‘I wanted to say this personally. You guys have read what the Daily Mail published about me today and I want you guys to hear it personally from me rather than read it in a statement from me and my team.

‘I’ve not committed any violations, I’ve not been suspended so as far as I’m concerned the fight’s still going ahead.

‘I’ve spoken to Chris personally and we both want the fight to go ahead. We’ve both taken medical and legal advice and we both want the fight to happen for the fans.’

Eubank Jr, who later insisted he hadn’t spoken to Benn, was also then happy for the fight to continue.   

More to follow… 

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