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Atypical Result Found In Beterbiev Test Prior To Smith Bout, Hearn Pounces On Revelation

Atypical Result Found In Beterbiev Test Prior To Smith Bout, Hearn Pounces On Revelation featured image
Artur Beterbiev tested positive in December for an atypical finding which is not considered a violation yet has still sparked plenty of buzz within the media world of boxing. (Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)

Saturday’s upcoming match between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith faced a brief scare after reports surfaced of an atypical finding in the results of one of Beterbiev’s VADA tests. Though this result does not mean that Beterbiev tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s) and does not point towards wrongdoing of any sort, Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn revealed in a recent interview that he pursued VADA for more answers.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) conducted tests for fighters competing on January 13 last month, and it was discovered that one of Artur Beterbiev’s (19-0, 19 KO’s) tests returned an atypical finding in mid-December. However, subsequent tests in the same month―including urine and blood tests―returned negative results, thereby clearing Beterbiev of any intentional or unintentional doping. The findings concerned raised levels of HGH and testosterone.

In lieu of the atypical result, Eddie Hearn was questioned on this matter due to his appearance at the pre-fight press conference between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KO’s), and the promoter divulged that he had known of the findings a month ago in December and recently sought clarification from VADA regarding this result.

For once, it’s not my fighter, it’s not my show, [and] I’m just glad the information’s got out there because this information was made aware to us in the middle of December,Hearn told Boxing News.

Let’s make it clear; it’s not an adverse finding, but there are raised levels of HGH and testosterone in a test that we want to know more about, and in the end, the pressure is on to release that information yesterday.

It’s fight week, but I feel there needs to be more transparency. It’s not really on us to release that information, we’re not scientists, but we also read the information and it raises concerns to us.”

Hearn went on to explain that he was not able to contractually dive into this case as the finding was not adverse. However, he still made note of the fact that an atypical finding―though not a violation― warranted further inquiries from his side, to no avail.

When you read the results of a test that has levels above the testing limit, we want to know more and that information hasn’t become as forthcoming as we’d like from VADA.

VADA founder and chair Margaret Goodman had been reached out for commentary by Boxing News and revealed that there was no cause of concern.

Atypical findings are fairly common in PED testing and do not constitute an adverse test result,” Margaret said.

They can result from various causes. Atypical findings generally warrant the collection of further samples. But no negative inference should be drawn from an atypical finding in and of itself. Both Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith are enrolled in VADA and are subject to continued testing.

As atypical findings for increased levels of HGH and testosterone can occur as the body produces these substances naturally and they can increase due to various reasons, including sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise [according to sports scientist/nutritionist Victor Conte]. Moreover, subsequent tests conducted by VADA eliminated any possibility off potential steroid use by Beterbiev. Smith has also reportedly tested negative for all his tests.

Despite the controversy, the light-heavyweight title match between WBC, WBO and IBF holder Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith is still set to commence on Saturday, January 13th, and will see the two fighters compete in what may be the toughest test for them both.

The Centre Videotron will host the event in Quebec City in Canada and the boxing card, promoted by Top Rank and broadcasted by ESPN, will further feature Australia WBO bantamweight champion Jason Moloney (26-2, 19 KO’s) defending his recently-won title against American contender Saul Sanchez (20-2, 12 KO’s).