CONOR BENN has called on anti-doping agencies to change their stance on Clomifene in the wake of his two failed tests for the substance in 2022. Benn returns on Saturday in Orlando, Florida, drawing a line under a 17-month hiatus from boxing following a pair of adverse findings via VADA tests in July and September.
The second of those forced the cancellation of his scheduled fight with Chris Eubank Jr last October and he has been fighting to clear his name ever since. The National Anti Doping Panel ruled in Benn’s favour in July meaning that his provisional suspension was lifted although UKAD confirmed via a statement in August that they had filed an appeal in respect of that decision.
Despite that ongoing case, Benn will be allowed to fight this weekend and will take on Rodolfo Orozco over 10 rounds in a 154lb encounter.
Now Benn says he is willing to work with UKAD in order to address what he perceives as a growing problem with the detection of clomifene, a drug used in fertility treatment to stimulate female ovaries to produce eggs.
“I’m very diligent with what I take,” Benn told Boxing News. “I am educated on everything I take and I’m very cautious. I’ve always been diligent with everything I’ve done throughout my whole career.
“But if you’re eating a banana and it says it’s a banana, looks like a banana and tastes like a banana, how can that be strict liability? Everyone wants to question what has gone on but what about the case study WADA conducted [on clomifene]? They conducted a case study over a three-year period three years ago about clomifene rising in athletes by 15 per cent.”
Benn cites the 2019 study conducted by the German Sport University, published on the WADA website, entitled: Are poultry and eggs a source of minute amounts of clomiphene in doping control samples.
It states that “athletes are permanently at risk of inadvertent ingestion of prohibited substances” and that “it cannot be excluded that food contamination is one reason of this phenomenon”.
Now Benn believes there is enough proof for a change in stance on Clomifene, which is banned under the WADA code both in and out of competition. When asked whether there is an issue with Clomifene being on the banned list, he said: “Yes of course there is. There will be more fighters who test positive for this.“How has there been two other fighters who have tested positive within this year and two other cyclists? They all tested positive and all in trace amounts. People need to look further. How can it be strict liability if it’s in our food? You can’t stop that.
“Before people started talking about poultry and eggs, the case study was done. It happens to be that the scientific evidence matches up to the case study that was done. They did a test where somebody digested [clomifene] via a tablet and via food and it shows up completely differently in the body. It metabolises differently in the body.
“Mine is clear on the evidence to see that it came from food because there are certain parts of the body where it wasn’t digested via a tablet. The truth is, more and more athletes will test positive for this and I hope I can change the law on testing for clomifene, I still want to work with UKAD and hopefully everything I’ve been through changes how they test for clomifene because other athletes may not have the resources.
“If I’ve had to spend all the money I’ve had to spend and go through so publicly so that other fighters have a chance in this… because it will happen again.”
Benn also insists that fighters who are proven dopers should be permanently banned from competition.
“If the science comes back and you are properly doping – ban for life,” he adds. “There is no room for it. But if you are innocent don’t let it be trial by media or politics.”