The British Boxing Board of Control’s General Secretary, Robert Smith, has responded to reports that Conor Benn will fight Chris Eubank Jr in London.
Eubank and Benn this week engaged in a war of words that ended with the latter confirming that February 3 2024 was the date arranged for their fight. It had previously been rumoured and then reported by Mail Sport.
It’s well know that Benn – who failed two Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency tests last year – does not currently possess a license to box in the UK.
He is currently in an appeal process brought by the Board and the UK Anti-Doping Agency following a provisional suspension being lifted earlier this year.
The undefeated 26-year-old has returned to the ring in Florida, a low-key affair against Rodolfo Orozco who subsequently failed a doping test. Benn won by unanimous decision over ten rounds.
Since then, all the talk has been on the Eubank fight, which was initially canned last year when news of Benn and the banned substance first broke.
Promoter Eddie Hearn told Boxing Social that there are a few details on Eubank’s side to iron out, but that Benn was ready to sign immediately for a fight at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Smith cast doubt on the plans and reiterated the importance of the appeal – a hearing for which is expected in early 2024.
“The Board feel that any athlete, not just a boxer, but any athlete who has failed a drugs test needs to go through an investigation with the proper authorities and that hasn’t happened.”
“We’re waiting for that to happen and the Boxing Board and UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) have been pushing for that to happen right from the beginning of this and unfortunately it’s been delayed, not through the Boxing Board of Control or UKAD, but through other parties.”
He confirmed that there has been an application for Benn to fight under the BBBofC’s jurisdiction, but said it has been refused.
“With regard to Mr Benn boxing in this country, we have had an application for him to box in this country, that has been refused.”
“They can put out what they want ultimately, but they haven’t been through the proper authorities and as I said before we’re really keen to get this done right from the beginning.”
Whether or not the promotion looks to stage the fight overseas or under a lesser-known governing body remains to be seen.