DILLIAN received an extremely harsh ban back in 2012 for inadvertently (and innocently) consuming a banned stimulant which he did not realise was contained within an energy drink (Jack3d) that he only started drinking shortly before his failed test (having tested clean a few weeks beforehand), as Red Bull gave him heartburn. Jack3d was a very popular drink at the time and had been recommended to Dillian by a world champion athlete.

“UKAD and both the original and appeal tribunals fully accepted that it was a genuine mistake by Dillian and that he did not consume the stimulant with any intention to gain an unfair advantage (i.e. he was not cheating as he had no knowledge that the drink contained the banned stimulant, which was listed as “geranium” on the label). Also, the stimulant is not a steroid, SARM or other hardcore PED and can be legally used for training, sparring etc. but should not be present in a boxer’s system on fight night. Frankly, it’s similar to a driver being stopped the day after drinking and failing a breath test due to the continuing presence of alcohol in his body – it was legal for him to drink but not legal for him to drive while the alcohol was still in his system. 

“Dillian was extremely unlucky and despite having been assured by UKAD that he would only receive a three to four-month ban, the tribunals disregarded UKAD’s own submissions and handed down the two-year fixed penalty on a strict liability basis, feeling that he should have done more checks. Dillian was made an example of as, just before his case, two more seasoned British pros received far lesser bans (six months and under) for the same offence. More recently, in the US, Bermane Stiverne failed a test for the same stimulant and received no ban whatsoever.

“Things are very different today than they were in 2012 and there is now an excellent online resource for athletes, trainers, managers etc. called Global DRO (www.globaldro.com) that allows you quickly and authoritatively to check whether specific products or their ingredients are banned (whether inside or outside competition). As well as first checking on Global DRO, any boxer considering taking nutritional supplements or pre-workout drinks should ensure that they carry the Informed Sports logo, which means that the product has been batch-tested for any banned ingredients or contaminants (www.informed-sport.com).”