This weekend’s highly anticipated clash between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn is officially over.
The iconic match-up was called into question on Wednesday after Sportsmail broke the great news that Benn had tested positive for the banned drug clomiphene.
Co-promoters Eddie Hearn and Kalle Sauerland – as well as both Eubank Jr and Benn – insisted on Wednesday that they still intended to keep the fight going, sources reiterated to Sportsmail on Thursday morning.
How the fight would actually play out, however, had to be waited out after an announcement from the British Boxing Board of Control that said the fight was not allowed to take place.
The company Hearn’s Matchroom disputed the board’s refusal to sanction the fight, with the promoter insisting that “there is no reason, in terms of suspension or violations, the fight should not take place”.
But after extensive legal discussions on Thursday afternoon, the decision was made to cancel the game.
No official announcement has been made yet, though one is expected soon, with what happens to the rest of the map yet to be revealed.
The fight was not only a legacy, but also brought in a huge financial boost, with tens of millions of pounds now lost. Both Eubank Jr and Benn had six-figure wallets.
This weekend’s fight between Chris Eubank Jr (left) and Conor Benn (right) is officially over
Benn tested positive for banned substance clomiphene in the run-up to mega fight
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn had remained adamant that the fight had to go on after all
The banned substance, clomiphene, is primarily intended to aid women in fertility, but the steroid is also known to provide boosts for muscle development and rapid recovery from exercise, among other benefits.
Still, after the negative findings were made public, Hearn insisted that Benn could not be suspended by the board and that the fight should go ahead as planned.
That’s because the test Benn failed was by the VADA, but the British Boxing Board of Control is controlled by the British Anti-Doping Agency, who are typically contracted by the boxers and promoters for a five-figure fee prior to a fight.
The 26-year-old, according to Hearn, passed all UKAD doping control tests – including one taken after the negative finding.
With the expectation that legal maneuvers against the Council could fail, there were figures involved in the fight who were open to pursuing options with a foreign sanctions body – multiple sources have said as many as three would be considered – but Hearn shot down that opportunity on Thursday.
Sportsmail’s Riath Al-Samarrai broke Benn’s exclusive drug positive test on Wednesday
Eubank Jr attended Wednesday’s public practice and insisted he was still ready to fight
Hearn told Sportsmail: ‘We have no need to use a foreign authority.’
Hearn then tweeted: “Let’s see what today brings, but just to make one thing clear, I will not be promoting this fight Saturday night with any foreign commission or alternative governing body.”
His comments followed claims from multiple sources that the battle was “almost certain” to continue.
However, that now appears not to be the case, after the fight was canceled on Thursday afternoon.
Benn, who appeared at Wednesday’s public training session despite the circumstances, protested his innocence.
He said, “I wanted to say this in person. You have read what the Daily Mail has published about me today and I want you to hear it from me personally rather than read it in a statement from me and my team.
“I have not committed any fouls, I have not been suspended, so as far as I am concerned the fight is still going on.
“I’ve spoken to Chris personally and we both want the fight to go on. We have both taken medical and legal advice and we both want the fight to take place in front of the fans.”
Eubank Jr, who later insisted he hadn’t spoken to Benn, was also happy that the fight went on.