Boxer Benn charged with use of prohibited drug

LONDON — British boxer Conor Benn has been charged with the alleged use of a prohibited substance, British anti-doping authorities said on Thursday.

UK Anti-Doping said the 26-year-old Benn was charged on April 3 for using clomifene, a female fertility drug that is on the WADA’s list of banned substances and is known to elevate testosterone levels in men.

UKAD said it notified and provisionally suspended Benn on March 15. The anti-doping authority does not typically disclose that an athlete has been charged or suspended, but said this was “exceptional circumstances.”

Benn’s all-British catchweight bout with Chris Eubank Jr. was canceled in October after Benn returned traces of clomifene in a random test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

The World Boxing Council cleared the welterweight fighter of intentional doping in February after a “highly elevated consumption of eggs” was considered a “reasonable explanation” for the failed test. That left Benn free to resume his boxing career outside Britain after he relinquished his British Boxing Board of Control licence.

Benn took to Twitter on Thursday to say the UKAD announcement was an attempt to “create a headline with my name.”

“Being ‘charged’ is a start of a process by which an athlete has to defend themselves,” he wrote. “I have not been sanctioned by anyone & I’m not banned from boxing. I remain free to fight in events that are not sanctioned by the BBBoC. I don’t even have a BBBoC licence.”

The British boxing authority noted the charge and said it “awaits the outcome of the UKAD process in due course.”