Kalle Sauerland spoke exclusively to Boxing Social about the unseen moments in the aftermath of Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn’s fight cancellation due to the latter’s failed doping tests.
The boxing world was rocked by the news of Benn – an undefeated welterweight on the verge of a career-defining fight – testing positive for a banned substance.
Eubank Jr, who was in the midst of what many called a dangerous weight cut, was left without a fight and payday through no fault of his own.
Sauerland, who has a close relationship with Eubank, told Boxing Social’s Charlie Parsons that he reflected alone on the situation in the aftermath.
“I just sat there and was like ‘what the f**k happened there?’ I was on absolute overdrive to get it done. I spoke to Junior – wanted to get it done – and, in the end, the handling of it, everything around it, was disgraceful.”
“When I sat there [I thought] have I done something wrong? You start questioning yourself.”
“We were in a situation that was just so weird and bizarre, and it felt like we were involved in some sort of cover up. We weren’t. We were following everything by the book of the rules. And that was also a moment where I said something has to change in the sport.”
The promoter – who runs Wasserman Boxing with brother Nisse – felt that, although they weren’t to blame in the situation, much of the fall out landed at their feet.
It was a co-promotion with Eddie Hearn, the man in charge of Benn’s career, and both felt that the British Boxing Board of Control mishandled the situation.
“I was having to call up pals and say ‘sorry, mate, I’ve known a couple weeks but because of the way the laws are in boxing I couldn’t tell you.’ These are private friends. I even had cousins coming down from up north – it was insane. I felt really sh*tty.”
“We were the aggrieved party … We were told speak to lawyers.”
“That moment, when you’re alone reflecting, is a pretty dark place.”
The Eubank Jr-Benn saga remains one of the lowlights of 2022 for the sport of boxing, and plenty of questions remain unanswered.
That seems to be the case for not just fans, but also for the people who were at the very heart of it like Sauerland.