Hanna Gabriels’ promoter contended Thursday that a medication she applied to her dog caused Gabriels to test positive for a banned substance early this month.

Lou DiBella informed BoxingScene.com that Gabriels failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test administered May 2 because clostebol is an ingredient in a medication Gabriels spread on her dog’s surgically repaired abdomen. According to DiBella, Gabriels had her husband spread the medication on their dog’s stomach after a VADA tester informed her that a banned substance was a component in her dog’s medication.

Costa Rica’s Gabriels was nevertheless removed from her middleweight championship rematch with Claressa Shields, which was scheduled for June 3 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Dmitriy Salita, Shields’ promoter, announced Thursday that Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) will instead defend her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 160-pound championships against Los Angeles’ Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) a week from Saturday night in a 10-round main event DAZN will stream worldwide. Cornejo, who was already training for a fight, is the number one contender for Shields’ IBF, WBC and WBO middleweight crowns.

“I’m not blaming Claressa for this,” DiBella said. “And I’m not complaining that Claressa picked another opponent. I understand that Hanna tested positive for a banned substance. I’m just explaining what happened here.”

Gabriels got a rematch with Shields primarily because she is the only opponent to knock women’s boxing’s pound-for-pound queen to the canvas during her six-year, 13-fight professional career. Shields, a three-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, got up from that flash knockdown and decisively defeated Gabriels (21-2-1, 12 KOs) on all three scorecards in a 10-round bout that took place in June 2018 at Masonic Temple in Detroit.

“The real victim in this situation is Hanna,” DiBella said. “She hasn’t had a payday in [25] months and now she’s out of a big fight. Her dog had major abdominal surgery. She applied the medication to her dog and that’s how it got in her bloodstream. As soon as she found out that she shouldn’t have touched the medication, she stopped doing it. If I’m wrong, analyze the amounts and show me the amounts in her system that prove she was cycling or microdosing or whatever.”

The 40-year-old Gabriels last fought in April 2021, when she stopped Mexico’s Martha Lara (11-10, 6 KOs) in what was officially a heavyweight bout at Fiesta Casino in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Salita was sympathetic toward Gabriels’ predicament, but he stressed he had no choice but to replace Gabriels because clostebol is a banned, performance-enhancing drug.

“I’m not blaming Hanna Gabriels,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “It’s not for me to judge whether it was an accident or intentional. I accept that it was an accident. Fine, no problem. However, physiologically she had this banned substance in her body, which puts Claressa at a disadvantage. This is not opinion. It’s a scientific fact and I’m going by what the scientific facts state.

“Once she’s clean and clear, and she proves her innocence, then maybe we’ll revisit the rematch in the future. But it would be beyond irresponsible and another black eye for the sport to allow a competitor with performance-enhancing substances in her system to fight somebody. Not to play basketball or to run, but to fight with somebody.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.