EDDIE HEARN believes boxing’s fight against drugs can start at home with a new 24/7, year-round testing programme for all Matchroom fighters.
Hearn watched another of his company’s biggest fights crash and burn after the results of a VADA test ruled Dillian Whyte out of a pay-per-view clash with Anthony Joshua, which was scheduled for this Saturday.
Joshua will instead box Robert Helenius at the o2 Arena at the weekend after a last-ditch deal to bring the big 39-year-old over from Finland.
The Matchroom boss is, therefore, acutely aware of how bad the issue of performance enhancing drugs is to the sport which pays the majority of his wages and is now looking for ways to solve it.
“What I started thinking about the other day, and I don’t know how this goes down with fighters,” Hearn said. “It costs around £30,000 per fight to test for VADA. It’s generally about 12 tests during the period, right?
“So 10 fights on the card, 300 grand to test, one show. Absolutely impossible. Do we look to introduce, for Matchroom’s credibility, and for the good of the sport, a testing pool? Like the UFC do but they do it with USADA, we would do it with VADA. Where we say, if you are a Matchroom fighter, you have to enroll in the VADA testing programme.
“I think the WBC Clean Boxing Programme is great, but it’s impossible for it to be extensive enough, because it’s so much money. But can we get to a level where if you sign up for Matchroom, you know you’re enrolled in this programme. I think that’s a great look for boxing.”
It was put to Hearn that this could be seen as a clear conflict of interest – where the results of Matchroom’s own test would directly impact on whether or not their shows can take place.
He countered: “It’s not a conflict of interest because in the contract it will be reported to the parties. We have the obligation to report it to the parties involved.”
Some have argued, radio man Simon Jordan for instance, that this seems like Hearn just attempting to become both judge and jury. The promoter said: “We’re not, like Simon Jordan says, looking to take disciplinary matters in our own hands. F**k off! I don’t want to take disciplinary matters into my own hands. We don’t even really want to get involved. We want other people to take that away from us.”
Indeed, the problem of who is actually capable of punishing anyone appears to be the major one for boxing. If it was not hard enough to catch boxers at a time when they still have enough PEDs within their system to fail a test, it seems almost impossible for anyone to actually ban them when they do.
“There’s the universal element of testing,” Hearn adds. “Who deals with it? No one wants to deal with it because they’re all petrified to deal with it and they all palm it off onto other people and say ‘oh, you deal with it, you deal with it’ and then you get to a situation where no one actually [does anything about it] there’s no universal policy where it states: ‘If you fail a drugs test with VADA, this is what happens’. Because Commissions just don’t do that.”
For now, Hearn’s idea might seem expensive and fanciful but it might at least demonstrate a willingness to change for, as he puts it, ‘ for the long-term future of the sport’.
“The problem is if I went to PBC and I went ‘right, I’m going to create this testing pool for our fighters. Would you like to be included?’ They’d go ‘f**k off, Eddie. I don’t talk to you, you silly c**t’. I go ‘all right, then’.
“But we would have got our act in order and I think that’s a great statement. I don’t know how the fighters feel about it because… fighters are concerned about testing as a whole, contamination, making a mistake – that can happen.
“So it would be interesting for me to say to a fighter, welcome to the team and by the way, you’ve got to sign up to this.”
#Cleaning #hope #winning #fight #performanceenhancing #drugs #Eddie #Hearn #big #idea