Conor Benn’s removal from the WBC welterweight rankings has been clarified by the sanctioning body.
Benn found himself out of all world rankings last year when he was discovered to have tested positive for a banned substance.
He was re-introduced by the WBC this year after an investigation found ‘there was no conclusive evidence that Mr Benn engaged in intentional or knowing ingestion of Clomiphene.’ and pointed to a highly-elevated consumption of eggs as a reasonable explanation.
The Londoner returned at number six in the rankings, but the July 2023 update saw him out of the top 40 entirely. Speaking to Sky Sports, the WBC’s President Mauricio Sulaiman explained that the removal was due to 15 months of inactivity.
“The WBC ratings committee decided to remove Conor Benn due to the 15-month inactivity which is part of the ratings criteria. It seems there is no scheduled fight at this moment but Conor may contact the WBC to explain his case and his ranking situation may be addressed as a rating appeal [in] its process.”
The 26-year-old was last out against Chris Van Heerden in April 2022. He was scheduled for a catchweight bout with Chris Eubank Jr in October, but news of the failed doping tests saw it cancelled.
Benn’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is confident that his fighter will make a comeback in September of this year, but the plans may have taken a hit since proposed opponent, Eubank, instead announced a rematch with Liam Smith.
Fans have questioned the WBC’s policy on inactivity in the past. Ahead of where Benn found himself before the change are both Keith Thurman and Yordenis Ugas.
Ugas last fought on the same night as the Brit – a loss to champion Errol Spence Jr – and Thurman was out two months earlier in February 2022 for a decision win over Mario Barrios. The two ranked contenders have teased ring returns and the WBC have ordered fights, but nothing has been made official.
Some may also bring Jermall Charlo into the conversation, the WBC’s middleweight champion who hasn’t fought since June of 2021 through both injury and mental health issues, as described by Sulaiman. There has been calls to announce him as champion in recess to allow the division to keep moving.