Fightful Boxing Newsletter (10/10/19) Table Of Contents:
- Avni Yildirim, Tyrone Spong Fail Drug Tests (Page 1)
- Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter Results (Page 2)
- Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko Results (Page 3)
- Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 4-5)
- News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 6)
Avni Yildirim, Tyrone Spong Fail Drug Tests:
The past 12 months have been a trying time for boxing as a number of notable names have failed drug tests and now two more are added to that list.
Firstly, Yildirim was revealed to have tested positive for DHCMT/methylclostebol. The drug test took place on September 13 in Big Bear, California and VADA reported the adverse finding to the WBC on September 26.
This effectively took Yildirim out of the running, at least for now, for a potential WBC super middleweight title bout against newly-crowned champion David Benavidez. The WBC were making plans to make that fight happen next and likely would have been ordered at the WBC Convention set to begin later this month.
Yildirim was promised a shot at the title after the controversial nature of his fight against Anthony Dirrell back in February for the vacant WBC title. The fight ended in a technical decision in favor of Dirrell, meaning he won the belt. Yildirim and his camp filed a protest, requesting an immediate rematch and a compromise was reached: have Dirrell and Benavidez (who was also promised a title shot after he was stripped of the belt for also failing a drug test in September 2018) fight for the belt and Yildirim will take on the winner.
Now, that has all gone to smokes, but he wasn’t the only one to have a positive test result.
On October 7, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn revealed on social media that heavyweight Tyrone Spong missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime by testing positive for Clomiphene. Clomiphene is used as a fertility drug in women who do not ovulate, but when it’s used by men, it is used to not only increase testosterone levels, but also use as a masking agent for steroids, which is why it is a banned substance.
This took Spong out of the main event for the October 12 Matchroom Boxing USA show in Chicago where he was supposed to fight Oleksandr Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion who wanted to move up and become a world heavyweight champion.
Luckily for Hearn and his team, a replacement was found later in the week in the form of Chazz Witherspoon. Though that replacement is arguably much worse than Spong, the story isn’t the replacement. It’s in how more positive tests have been affecting several major shows, more often than not the main event.
The main event to an October 2018 Matchroom card in Boston was changed due to Billy Joe Saunders being denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission after testing positive for banned substance Oxilofrine.
Last December, it was revealed that Willie Monroe Jr. tested positive for what the WBC stated was a “banned steroidal substance.” Monroe was then taken out of a PBC on FOX main event in Brooklyn later that month against then-interim WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, who was fined by the WBC several weeks prior for missing a drug test.
Maybe the two worst drug offenders this year came in the form of Jarrell Miller and Dillian Whyte. Miller tested positive for multiple banned substances in March which cost him a shot at Anthony Joshua and the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles this past June. Whyte, on the other hand, was revealed to have tested positive for a banned substance right before his WBC heavyweight title eliminator against Oscar Rivas on July 20. But the news of Whyte’s failed drug test came after he beat Rivas and so now the British agencies responsible for the investigation on Whyte’s positive test are handling the case, which currently has no deadline for a resolution.
Now, one can point to the positive drug test results as a sign of the system working and that it will eventually lead to a much cleaner sport. But reality often breaks the illusion of what one wants and this is no different.
While it is better to find out that there are fighters cheating than to have them cheat and go unnoticed, there’s no way of knowing that the system will work for very long at this point. Boxing is a truly global sport and there is nowhere enough resources to do competent drug testing for all fighters across the globe. Take the WBC Clean Boxing Program for example. The program is designed for all top 15 fighters in every WBC weight class to be subject to 24/7 random drug testing, but in reality, the amount of drug tests done to these fighters vary wildly with no real sign that the system is truly carving out drug usage within the sport.
Without the proper resources, there will come a time where VADA, the athletic commissions and the various sanctioning bodies will be stretched too thin to be able to keep up. Fighters, or at least the ones who cheat, take note of the drug tests and will eventually find new methods to cheat the system.
The current system appears to be doing its job, but who is to say what would happen years down the line?
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