Conor Benn will return to the ring in Florida this weekend, ending a leave of absence born from two failed doping tests.
Benn was provisionally suspended by the UK Anti-Doping Agency this year as an investigation began, but that was lifted by an independent panel reportedly due to a jurisdictional clause given the fact that the banned substance was found by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency and not UKAD.
Currently free from suspension and awaiting an appeal by the British Boxing Board of Control and UKAD, Benn announced he would be returning to the ring stateside to face Rodolfo Orozco this weekend.
Speaking to TalkSPORT, General Secretary of the BBBofC, Robert Smith, confirmed that they were contacted by the commission that ended up licensing Benn – summarising that the difference in opinions on his eligibility to fight was ‘the trouble with no world governing body.’
“He’s not licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, I understand he’s licensed by a commission in America. They must be satisfied as to everything’s in order. If they’re happy for him to box it’s up to them.”
“The only communication I’ve had is from journalists in Florida and the Florida Commission asking what the situation is, for which I’ve gone back and said he’s not licensed by the boxing board of control, there’s an appeal in process and until that is dealt with we obviously can’t give permission for him to box in this country … Ultimately it’s up to them. That’s the trouble with no world governing body.”
He then gave an update on the BBBofC and UKAD appeal to the National Anti-Doping Agency panel.
“We are appealing, along with UKAD, the National Anti-Doping’s decision from a couple of months ago. We’re just waiting for a date. It’s frustrating it’s taking so long. We’re ready to go, I understand UKAD is ready to go. We’re just waiting for a date.”
“We were very disappointed in the original decision, and if we were to lose [the appeal] we’ll be dissapointed.”
In response to Eddie Hearn urging people to accept ‘Conor Benn has cleared his name’, Smith disagreed.
“Well he hasn’t cleared it. A number of issues are still outstanding which everybody’s aware of. We’ve decided to appeal a decision and once the appeal has taken place we’ll take it onboard from there. But no, when you say he’s cleared his name, according to us we haven’t had an explanation of how the positive test came about. So I don’t quite agree with Eddie on that one.”
Finally, speaking personally, the General Secretary said he didn’t think Benn should be boxing in his current situation.
“Personally, I don’t think he should be boxing until this matter is cleared.”
Smith said he would not be tuning in to the fight, set for this coming Saturday in Orland, Florida live on DAZN.