By Simon Plumb
Heavyweight boxers Joseph Parker and Brian Minto will be tested for performance enhancing drugs tomorrow – but the results won’t impact whether next month’s pay-per-view event goes ahead.
Fight promoter, Duco Events, today extended an unusual opportunity to media, inviting journalists to attend the company’s Auckland offices tomorrow to cover Parker and Minto having blood samples taken.
Duco director, Dean Lonergan, says blood testing has been implemented proactively – and paid for – by his company with a desire to prove the headline fighters are clean of performance enhancing drugs.
However, Lonergan says the samples will take at least two weeks to return – after his organisation’s July 5 pay-per-view event has been held.
‘‘We’re going to be testing for everything on the Wada banned list that would be performance enhancing drugs,’’ Lonergan told Fairfax Media.
‘‘Kevin Barry [Parker’s trainer], in particular, has pushed hard for this because he reckons Brian Minto at age 39 has lost a lot of weight, has got increased muscle mass, and he just wants to make sure it’s a level playing field for everyone and Brian’s not getting assistance. If we’re going to test Brian, we have to test Joseph.
‘‘From my understanding, by the time it gets shipped overseas, tested and the results come back is at least two weeks. That’s going to be after the fight.’’
In an ‘‘ideal world’’ Lonergan said the results would have been back before the July 5 event, but he has had to wait for Parker to arrive back in the country from training in Las Vegas so that Duco could do the testing ‘‘properly and do it in front of the media.’’
‘‘Obviously, to do it properly and do it in front of the media, we couldn’t do anything until Joseph Parker actually got here, so as to make it fair for both parties,’’ he said.
Lonergan also said ‘‘everything on the Wada banned list’’ would be scanned for, but acknowledged it would be difficult to get any testing done by a Wada-accredited laboratory, of which there is only one in Oceania, as only signatories to the Wada code have access to those channels.
Lonergan said Drug Free Sport New Zealand, the Crown’s anti-doping entity and New Zealand’s signatory to the Wada code, was unable to have a role in the testing process as, unlike amateur boxing, professional boxing sits outside the Wada code.
Chief executive of DFSNZ, Graeme Steel, told Fairfax Media blood accounts for approximately 10 per cent of DFSNZ testing, with urine providing the widest net and a combination of the two preferred, and most credible, method.
‘‘Blood is not the best medium to test for most things, but it’s the only medium to test for a few. Probably 10 per cent of what we look for is detectable through blood,’’ Steel said.
Steel also said Kiwi athletes subject to the Wada code are tested without notice.
‘‘Advanced notice testing has little credibility in Wada-based regimes,’’ he said.
While only blood was originally declared as part of Duco’s testing regime for the Parker-Minto fight, Lonergan tonight said urine testing would also be included and that samples of both fighters would be tested in both Los Angeles and New Zealand.
‘‘We don’t have to do this, full stop. Usually you only do this sort of stuff when it comes to world title fights and the sanctioning bodies demand it. We [Duco], on a regular basis, drug test just because we think it is the right thing to do,’’ Lonergan said.
‘‘Each blood test costs us about $500 to do for performance enhancing. It’s a straight-out promoter cost.
‘‘If a result was to come back positive, for either fighter, there’d be potential if the fighter who’d won tested positive for drugs, potentially, the result would be overturned. It has got ramifications.’’