Tony Bellew has revealed his first reaction to the news of Conor Benn’s positive test for a banned substance – disbelief.
In October 2022, days out from a fight with Chris Eubank Jr that had garnered mainstream attention, news broke that Benn had tested positive for Clomiphene.
The fight was prohibited by the British Boxing Board of Control, and it was later revealed to be the second test Benn had failed.
Bellew spoke to Up Front with Simon Jordan about the moment he first heard the news, his reaction, and a subsequent conversation with Benn.
“When I first got wind of this I said [to Eddie Hearn] ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ I’m pretty straight with Ed and we’re pretty close. He said ‘I wasn’t allowed, no one’s allowed to know anything.’
I said ‘I’m going to give you my opinion first and foremost – I’m telling you now there’s no way he cheated … That kid’s not guilty, but I ain’t making any comments on this because I believe he’s innocent.'”
If a performance enhancing drug comes up, I will f***ing leather him. And I spoke to Conor. He was on the phone in tears to me. I said ‘explain.’ He said ‘Tone, I don’t know.'”
The former cruiserweight world champion presents a strong view on doping in the sport, and has called in the past for anybody found with a performance-enhancing drug in their system to be banned for life.
He questioned whether or not the drug found in Benn’s system is a PED, however Jordan went on to point out that it could be used in conjunction with one.
As things stand, Benn is provisionally suspended by UKAD and the BBBofC as he awaits a formal trial. He maintains that he has never taken the drug in question and even believes that it was never in his system despite the two failed tests.