Kalle Sauerland feels like he and his team are being kept in the dark as it relates to the Conor Benn drug scandal.
Sauerland, the head of Wasserman Boxing, recently saw his charge, middleweight Chris Eubank Jr., miss out on a highly anticipated 157-pound catchweight bout with Conor Benn that seemed to capture the imagination of the British sporting public. But Benn was revealed to have tested positive for clomifene, a banned substance, a few days before the night of the fight, sending the fight into oblivion. The news was broken by the Daily Mail, and it was only after the outlet’s reporting that the British Boxing Board of Control refused to put their imprimatur on the fight and that the event’s promoters decided to cancel it.
Benn, moreover, was subsequently discovered to have tested positive for the same substance earlier in the summer. Both Benn and his promoter Eddie Hearn misled the public for weeks by creating the perception that Benn had failed only one test. Benn, who has been roundly denounced by boxing fans, is currently being investigated by UK Anti- Doping and the WBC. The latter organization will reportedly conclude its hearing on the embattled fighter at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Sauerland cannot help but express his impatience with what he feels has been an unnecessarily drawn out and opaque judicial process.
“We’re all bored because this has been the most drawn out process since the Treaty of Versailles,” Sauerland told SecondsOut.com. “What are we waiting for? I don’t know anything that’s happening … there’s absolutely frustration because I don’t know a bloody thing that’s going on.”
Sauerland said he has an issue with the way the British Boxing Board of Control did not call for a hearing immediately upon receiving the news from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) that Benn had tested positive for a banned substance. The news of Benn’s positive test was delivered to both the Benn and Eubank camps by VADA roughly two weeks before the fight date on Oct. 8. But Hearn has repeatedly stated that both the Benn camp and Eubank’s team agreed to move forward with the fight, despite the initial findings, which would seem to undermine Sauerland's protestation. Many observers believe Eubank-Benn would have gone ahead if the Daily Mail had not published its reporting on Benn’s test.
“Transparency is one thing, but speed,” Sauerland said. “Why wasn’t there a hearing two or something weeks before the test. We just walked into a fight week and no one had said anything. The Board didn’t say it wasn’t going ahead. Those things, why weren’t we called. The test results came on a Friday night--why were we not, at 9 AM, in a room, with the governing body … going through what was happening. Could we have saved the night for everybody on that undercard and [bring] Junior a different opponent in if at that stage we did it? That’s my thoughts on it.”
Recently, Benn, who has been quiet for legal reasons, put out a statement on his social media boldly claiming his innocence. Judging from those remarks, Sauerland believes Benn’s legal team will attempt to argue their position on the basis of a contamination argument.
“Read like a Christmas card to his fans,” Sauerland said of Benn’s statement. “The only word in there was ‘contamination’, which you can read into that. That’s the line that they are pursuing. It’s a line that other fighters have pursued in the past, some successfully, some unsuccessfully. I don’t read anything into it.”
Eubank will return to the ring Jan. 21 against Liam Smith in a middleweight bout at AO Arena in Manchester.