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Valdez ‘cleared’ to fight Conceição

WBC super-featherweight champion Oscar Valdez will reportedly be allowed to proceed with his title defence against Robson Conceição in Tucson, Arizona, on September 10 – despite testing positive for the banned substance phentermine in both his A and B sample during pre-fight VADA drug testing.

After the Mexican tested positive for phentermine in his A sample on August 28, the requested B sample showed the same results on September 2. The Valdez camp asserts the findings stem from the innocent consumption of a herbal tea.

The positive tests would, in theory, seem enough to cancel the fight given the short notice, but the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission, officiating the September 10 bout, has ruled the clash can go ahead as planned, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger and other sources. The WBC is expected to make a statement in due course, regarding Valdez’s championship status.

Both fighters enroled to the more stringent VADA testing, which lists phentermine as a banned substance at any time, but the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission has instead adhered to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules which overlook banned central nervous system stimulants ‘outside of competition’. In this case, ‘competition’ begins at 11.59pm on the day before fight night.

The original test on August 13 flagged phentermine, according to ESPN.com’s Coppinger, but a later August 30 sample showed the Mexican’s system to be completely free of the substance.

VADA only reports adverse findings, but does not rule upon them. Yet its results can cause a fight’s postponement depending on the ruling commission. Previously, Billy Joe Saunders tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrine ahead of a bout with Demetrius Andrade in 2018. Again, the substance was deemed ‘out of competition’ by WADA, but the Massachusetts Commission recognised the failed test under VADA rules and suspended Saunders, cancelling the fight.