Chris Eubank Jr. is well aware of the inherent risks associated with his chosen vocation.
While he emphasized Wednesday that he has always been a clean boxer, Eubank also acknowledged that he is more than willing to move forward with his grudge match against Conor Benn on Saturday night. The British Boxing Board of Control revealed Wednesday that Benn tested positive for clomiphene, a substance banned by both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, in a test overseen by VADA in August.
The BBBoC stated in its letter to all parties involved that it would “prohibit” them from proceeding, yet it was unclear at the time this story was posted whether the BBBofC will allow Eubank-Benn to take place as planned Saturday night at a sold-out O2 Arena in London. Nonetheless, Eubank told DAZN’s broadcast team during a media workout Wednesday in London that he is still ready to box Benn in what was contracted as a 12-round fight at a catch weight of 157 pounds.
“Of course there’s concerns, you know?,” Eubank said. “But listen, I can’t really say too much. I just can’t, but you know, again, I’m ready. I’m a clean fighter. I’ve prepared. I’ve cut the weight. I’m ready to go. You know, this is all unfolding, you know? I’m in as much know as you guys are. All I’ve gotta do is make sure I’m ready to go.”
Legal counsel for Matchroom Boxing (Benn’s promoter), Wasserman Boxing (Eubank’s promoters) and the BBBofC were in communication Wednesday regarding the fate of the Eubank-Benn bout. Eubank hopes they agree to allow them to fight, despite that Benn tested positive for a banned substance.
“I hope so,” Eubank said. “It should do. I’m ready. He’s ready. Whatever the Boxing Board is saying, they’re saying, and my promoters will do their best to make sure that we get the fight going and that the fans are not let down.”
Eubank (32-2, 23 KOs) also shot down speculation that he and Benn (21-0, 14 KOs) had a phone conversation earlier Wednesday regarding this performance-enhancing drug ordeal.
“There was no phone call,” Eubank said. “No, we haven’t spoken. Absolutely, yeah. No phone call. We haven’t spoken since this has been announced. And it’s a shame, you know? But my promoters, his promoters, the Boxing Board of Control, they’re going to sort it out. I’m ready. I’m clean. I’m 60 percent. I’m, you know, I’ve been tested my entire career, for the last 10 years. I’ve been tested more than I’ve ever been tested for a fight during this training camp.
“I have an app on my phone where, you know, I have to designate where I’m gonna be every single day. And I’ve been on that app for my entire career. And I will be on it for the rest of my career. And they can come and test me – blood, urine, unannounced, whenever they see fit. And I’ve never failed a test. I’ve even been tested on holiday. You know, obviously I don’t condone illegal substances in the sport of boxing, especially in boxing because it is, you know, things can happen. Health is a real issue.”
The 33-year-old Eubank was asked what type of message he’d send if he went through with a fight against an opponent who tested positive for a banned substance.
“Listen, I’m staying out of the politics,” Eubank replied. “I don’t know what’s gone on. You know, I’ve heard the news like you guys have heard the news. And all I can do is be a professional and make sure I’m ready to fight. I am ready and, you know, as news unfolds, then we’ll deal with it as it goes on.”
After completing a full training camp for a fight that has drawn an enormous amount of attention in the United Kingdom, all Eubank can do now is wait to find out if this high-profile fight will be scrapped.
“Obviously, you know, I’ve prepared,” Eubank said. “I’ve done my job and it’s now in the hands of the promoters, the governing bodies to make this fight happen. So yeah, you know, all I can do is be ready.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.