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Chris Eubank Jr. vs Conor Benn bout canceled

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Kalle Sauerland and Eddie Hearn during a press conference at the Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel London after Matchroom announced that the fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday at The O2, has been postponed. Picture date: Thursday October 6, 2022. (Photo by Simon Marper/PA Images via Getty Images)

The BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control) has pulled the plug on Conor Benn’s match with Chris Eubank Jr. that was slated for October 8th on Saturday. Matchroom Boxing and Wasserman Boxing held a brief joint press-conference on October 6th where they announced the cancellation of the bout.

“We wanted to come here today and formally announce that Chris Eubank Jr. versus Conor Benn has been officially postponed.” Eddie Hearn – Matchroom Boxing’s CEO and Benn’s promoter – explained in the presser. “I want to make it clear that Conor Benn is not suspended by the BBBofC. And we do feel he hasn’t been given due process like many others in this situation before him.”

In an official statement, the British Boxing Board of Control – that oversees all fights in Britain – clarified their decision to cancel the match between Eubank and Benn, citing that the fight continuing was ‘not in the best interests of boxing’, referring to the failed drug test Benn had with the globally-present VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) organization.

BBBofC’s official statement on the cancellation

Hearn also addressed some of the reports that had been circulating in the media about both promotions looking to continue to make the fight happen, despite concerns surrounding the failed drug test and the subsequent cancellation of the match by the BBBofC.

“I also want to clear up so many different reports from journalists and outlets that we’ve seen today about us being in the high court this afternoon, us considering other commissions. This is just not true. We took our time with Wasserman Boxing, and we made a decision that we felt was in the best interests of the parties involved.”

Kalle Sauerland, Chris Eubank Jr.’s promoter, also offered some insight into his fighter’s current state of mind.

“So I’ve obviously come from Chris. He’s hugely disappointed. He’s ready. He was on weight, and he was very much looking forward to this weekend.” Sauerland said. “My feelings also go out to each and every single one of the undercard fighters. Remember, it’s not just an event, it’s a camp for each and every single one of them that they’ve gone through, and this matter was taken out our hands.”

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Chris Eubank Jr. (left) and Conor Benn (right) were expected to face off against each other on Saturday, October 8th. (Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images)

“The handling of it, we feel it was totally inappropriate given the rules, and we now look at the plans for rescheduling it (the fight).” Sauerland continued, referring to the BBBofC prohibiting the bout from occurring and the future of the Eubank vs. Benn match.

With the fight canceled, both Eubank Jr. and Benn not only miss out on a purported sum of £3.5 million ($3.7m), but also the undercard fighters will be prevented from earning their hard-earned salaries. As professional boxers only get paid after a bout, the consequences of a match being canceled affects them the hardest. The fans also suffer because of these cancellations – even if reimbursement of their tickets is an option – because of some, usually overseas fans, needing to make additional traveling and accommodation expenses. Further on, the referees, judges, other boxing officials and the television announcers will lose out on earning their rightful pay.

The affair surrounding the failed test does warrant such a cancellation, however, as Eubank Jr. had rehydration clauses set in his contract, dangers already surrounded the match as Chris Eubank Sr. had alerted as of recently. The finding of the drugs found in Benn’s system alluded to him having come off steroids, making it possible that Eubank Jr. would have been at even-greater risk by potentially fighting a steroid user.

Chris Van Heerden, a former opponent of Conor Benn, has also shared his view on the matter, remarking that he had found it odd and suspicious that Benn had been acting so confident prior to their fight as well as recently, and had seemed stronger than even the world champions and contenders he faced in Errol Spence Jr. and Jaron Ennis.

Chris Van Heerden explaining his outlook on the latest Conor Benn fiasco and his experience with him as a fellow professional boxer.

Conor Benn has reached out on social media to express his own grievances at the cancellation, remarking that his immediate focus would be on clearing his name.

Conor Benn’s Twitter message on the cancellation of his fight with Chris Eubank Jr.

Chris Eubank Jr. has also not stayed quiet in the whole matter, still seeming eager for the bout to occur and remarking on Twitter that he would have to ‘school’ Benn at another point in time.

Chris Eubank Jr. remarking on the Conor Benn VADA affair.

If Benn is found to be liable in the taking of steroids or PEDs, he will likely face a ban of at least a year, or maybe even several depending on who will deliver the punishment. It is likely that responsibility for his punishment will fall on the BBBofC. The British Boxing Board of Control most renowned case in suspending a fighter for alleged doping concerned Tyson Fury when they suspended his license in 2016. UKAD (UK Anti-Doping Agency) has recently released a statement as of the Conor Benn affair and issued the following:

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) Chief Executive, Jane Rumble said, “UKAD notes the reporting of a failed VADA test by the boxer Conor Benn with concern. UKAD acts on all reports of doping and always encourages anyone with information on suspected doping activity to come forward and share that with us.”

UKAD had also previously been involved in the high-profile anti-doping case surrounding Tyson Fury and his cousin and fellow pro boxer Hughie Fury when they banned the pair of them from boxing for two years. Conor Benn could similarly face the same level of punishment if his use in steroids or PEDs would be confirmed.

What do you think of the recent news involving Conor Benn and his failed drug test? Comment below to start a discussion.