With his reputation taking a battering after the drug testing controversy that has clouded next weekend’s title defence against Robson Conceição, WBC 130lbs champion Oscar Valdez has made a statement to claim his innocence in the matter.
Earlier this week, under VADA testing in the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program, Valdez tested positive for the banned substance phentermine, which is an appetite suppressant that could be used to help a fighter make weight.
The Mexican’s camp asserted that it was the result of drinking a herbal tea before the B sample came up positive, too. In a logical world, that would lead to the fight’s postponement and perhaps even the stripping of Valdez, given that the WBC had previously relieved David Benavidez of his green and gold super-middleweight belt after he tested positive for a recreational drug, cocaine, out of competition.
Instead, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission, officiating the September 10 Valdez-Conceição event in Tucson, and the WBC allowed the fight to proceed to the dismay of many fight watchers.
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission chose to observe WADA rules instead, meaning that the positive test came ‘outside of competition’ despite Valdez preparing for a boxing match. The WBC handed Valdez a 12-month probation in what amounted to a light slap on the wrist.
The goalposts have essentially moved to allow the fight to go ahead, but Valdez insists he is innocent and broke his silence on the matter in a carefully worded statement.
“My people, I have never used banned substances to enhance my performance. I have never done it. I have been respectful of the anti-doping rules since I was an amateur, Olympian, and now professional.
“Since I became world champion in 2016, l have been VADA-tested more than 30 times. I insisted — in writing — on VADA testing for myself and Robson Conceicao for this fight.
“I would like to thank my manager Frank Espinoza, Top Rank, Eddy Reynoso and my entire team for standing by me throughout this process.
“I would also like to thank the Pascua Yaqui Boxing Commission for the due process in hearing my case.
“I will happily comply with the stipulations set forth by the World Boxing Council, to collaborate in the programs, tests, and other activities required of me.
“See you on September 10 in the ﬁrst defence of my WBC world title in Tucson, Arizona.”
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.