TalkSPORT’s Gareth A Davies and Spencer Oliver have demanded answers as to why the Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr fight wasn’t cancelled sooner.
Despite having failed two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association tests in the months prior, those involved were close to letting Benn’s already-controversial fight with Eubank Jr go ahead as planned.
Ultimately, it was postponed following an intervention by the British Boxing Board of Control, but for many, it was much too late.
Davies began by summing up the timeline between tests and postponement on his TalkSPORT show, before going onto use his co-host’s own experience as to why it was potentially dangerous.
“He was informed of the first fail, he thought it was faulty. He was informed of the second one, as was everyone else under the VADA testing. Chris Eubank Jr was informed. The promoters were informed. The Boxing Board of Control was informed. And yet … we went through fight week and it was cancelled 48 hours before the event.”
“They were both going to get very wealthy from it, and I think that’s one of the reasons why. You [Spencer Oliver] said it to me … – you’ve had these catastrophic things happen in your life that you recovered from – they were potentially putting wealth before health and you can never do that in our sport.”
Davies is referring to Spencer Oliver’s fight with Sergey Devakov. In the 10th round, the super-bantamweight champion was floored by a right hook and failed to make the count. Oliver was badly hurt – what would later be identified as a blood clot in the brain. After 15 minutes of treatment and oxygen in the ring, he was taken, unconscious, to the hospital where doctors performed successful surgery.
It would be Oliver’s final fight – though he would be the first to admit that he could have lost a lot more than a career that night at the Royal Albert Hall. Given the news surrounding Benn’s tests and the fact that Eubank Jr was cutting to a weight never before reached in the ring, the hosts are hard to argue with here.
Perhaps in the future when safety becomes a concern, those in boxing should remember Oliver’s ring monicker – ‘The Omen.’