By Mark Vester
Butityi Konki, the manager for lightweight Ali Funeka, has issued a response to the recent news that his fighter failed the post-fight drug test for last month's rematch with Joan Guzman. Funeka tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s banned substance list. Diuretics are often used by fighters to cut weight. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tested postive for a diuretic last year. The NSAC suspended him for for several months. Funeka faces a fine and suspension when the NSAC meets on Friday.
Konki admits that his fighter took a tablet containing hydrochlorothiazide to prevent the possibility of water retention. A local doctor misinformed Funeka by telling him the diuretic in question was not banned by the NSAC.
“We dispute any inference of wrongdoing on our part. That drug was not for anything other than to help Ali on his long trip to the States,” Konki told South African paper The Dispatch. “It was something that we got a prescription for, we did not buy it behind closed doors, our doctor said it is not on the list of banned substances."
Funeka's doctor in Johannesburg, Dr Mark Blumberg, confirmed the manager's story to the paper.
“The substance was in a tablet called Amiloretic, which we prescribed to Ali. He was given the tablets to help relieve water retention on his long flight to the United States. Water retention is a common ailment in those situations and it often leads to pain in the body including the muscles,” Blumberg said.
Loyiso Mtya, director of operations for the South African Boxing Commision, told the paper hydrochlorothiazide stays in the body for no more than 20-hours, and since Funeka left for the states on March 17 and the fight was on March 27, he thinks most people are going to think Funeka took the pill to cut weight.
“It would be understandable for people to speculate along those lines because it means the drug was taken within 20 hours of the fight,” Mtya added.
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