Artur Beterbiev was destructive in his seventh round stoppage of Callum Smith to retain his unified light-heavyweight titles, prompting Tony Bellew to say ‘our great sport needs looking at’ because the champion was getting stronger as he got older.
Beterbiev has ended all 20 of his contests by knockout, and is known the world over as one of the most ferocious opponents one can face in the ring.
Pre-fight, he returned atypical findings for human growth hormone (HGH) and 5D-androstanediol in a VADA doping test. This was not a failed test, but prompted further investigation. All samples submitted thereafter were negative.
The news still prompted some discussion and questions, and that included Bellew, who continued the conversation on TalkSPORT.
“If someone finds HGH or testosterone in your system at 39-years-old, a point where your testosterone levels are at the lowest of all time in a professional sport where you have to lose weight – your testosterone levels [should be] on the floor guys.
I know cause I’ve done it. I’ve had testosterone drop and drop and drop. Guess what? I wasn’t allowed to have testosterone shots. And guess what? The last medical I had before Oleksandr Usyk, I had the boxing board on at me because I was passing a certain thing in my urine that proved that my testosterone level was on the floor. They were like we can’t pass your medical because of this, yet this guy is older than me and his testosterone levels are higher than ever before and there’s also HGH in his system. That’s not my opinion, that’s a fact.”
Bellew then pointed out that Beterbiev hadn’t failed a test, but said there were ‘a lot of coincidences.’
“I’m not gonna detract from Artur Beterbiev in any way, and I’m not gonna call him a cheat because he’s not a cheat – that’s not proven – and I’m not gonna label him. All I’m stating is, there’s a lot of coincidences here.”
Asked why he has publicly backed Conor Benn, who has failed two doping tests, the former world champion said the substances made the situations different.