Eddie Hearn, promoter for welterweight contender Conor Benn, is going to continue with his push to finalize a fight with Chris Eubank Jr.
The contest was initially scheduled to take place in October of 2022 - but it was canceled during fight week when news broke that Benn had tested positive for a banned substance. It was later revealed that Benn had tested positive on two occasions for Clomifene.
There are ongoing negotiations to hold that fight in February 2024 - but the event will have plenty of issues to overcome if Hearn intends to stage the fight in the UK.
As BoxingScene.com recently reported, the British Boxing Board of Control have rejected Benn's recent application to fight on UK soil.
Benn is currently not licensed by the BBBofC.
The British Board, and testing agency UKAD [UK Anti-Doping], are embroiled in a legal feud with Benn.
They want him to go through a full investigation with their organizations. Benn was charged and suspended from boxing in April, but later cleared to fight by the NADP [National Anti-Doping Panel] in July - but several outlets have indicated that Benn was cleared due to a jurisdictional argument that UKAD had no right to issue punishment on tests being administered by VADA. The decision was later appealed, and the matter is still unresolved.
On Wednesday, the British Board's Robert Smith would explain why Benn application to fight was denied.
“The Board feel that any athlete who has failed a drugs test needs to go through an investigation with the proper authorities and that hasn’t happened," Smith told Talk Sport.
“We’re waiting for that to happen and the BBBofC and UKAD have been pushing for that to happen right from the beginning of this and unfortunately it’s been delayed, not through the BBBofC or UKAD, but through other parties. With regard to Mr Benn boxing in this country, we have had an application for him to box in this country, that has been refused.”
Hearn responded to the comments and made it very clear that Matchroom will continue negotiations to make Benn-Eubank a reality - with or without the British Board.
“Very disappointed to see Robert Smith come on Talk Sport and give his explanation without actually speaking to us, again choosing to go through the media. His comments actually were completely inaccurate and that will be dealt with today by Conor and his legal team. We believe Conor Benn is clear to fight, legally," Hearn told Boxing Social.
“To say he hasn’t gone through the applicable channels, that will be dealt with in a big way because that is absolute rubbish. He’s gone through the hearing with the WBC, which is the body that controlled the testing, he got completely cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated in the rankings, then he chose to go through the UKAD ruling as well because he felt like it was the thing to do, and got his suspension lifted and won the case.
“For us the focus is on making the fight. And until the fight is made, really, it might be irrelevant. If we get it signed, then we will deal with the situation. I want this fight to happen in the UK, I want it to happen on February 3 at Spurs and I’ll do everything I can to make that happen.”