HomeUncategorized'Boxing needs to do more' – Chantelle Cameron reveals zero drugs tests before Jessica McCaskill undisputed fight – Sporting News
October 23, 2022
'Boxing needs to do more' – Chantelle Cameron reveals zero drugs tests before Jessica McCaskill undisputed fight – Sporting News
EXCLUSIVE — It’s two weeks since British boxing was supposed to enjoy a blockbuster like no other. Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn were going to try and finish the feud their fathers started three decades earlier at a sold-out O2 Arena. Of course, you know what happened next. Benn returned an adverse analytical finding in a drugs test. The substance that showed up, clomifene, is drug prescribed to women to increase their fertility but it can also boost testosterone in men and has been known to be used as a masking agent for the effects of other performance-enhancing drugs. Benn has strongly protested his innocence throughout but what felt like it should have been a cut-and-dried postponement matter became messy and dragged out amid claim and counter-claim from fighters, promoters and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC). Eubank Jr. vs. Benn was eventually pulled on Thursday, October 5 – two days before fight night. The joy and frustration of boxing is there is always another intriguing fight night on the horizon, an opportunity to restore the sport’s reputation and save face or perhaps sully it further. Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall certainly did the former back at the O2 Arena last weekend. The long-anticipated fight for the undisputed super-middleweight championship was a barnstormer that lived up to and arguably surpassed huge pre-fight expectations. MORE: Shields beats rival Marshall on points to become a two-time undisputed middleweight champion Quicksilver American superstar Shields, the self-proclaimed G.W.O.A.T. (Greatest Woman of All Time) won a deserved unanimous decision, but not without power-puncher Marshall pushing her hard for the duration and leaving her with a battered left eye. Alycia Baumgardner’s more contested split-decision win over Mikaela Mayer for the four major super-featherweight belts also had fans on the edge of their seats. “Incredible. What a night. It was unbelievable and all the credit to everyone who was involved,” WBC and IBF super-lightweight champion Chantelle Cameron told The Sporting News. “The whole production was incredible. What a night for women’s boxing. The main event and co-main event definitely lived up to the hype, they were unbelievable fights. “Especially Claressa and Savannah, it could go down as the best women’s fight there’s been.”
Britain’s Cameron, an undefeated professional with a 16-0 record, is closing in on her own undisputed showdown with the United States’ Jessica McCaskill in the 140lbs division. Their fight is the chief support to Dmitry Bivol’s WBA light-heavyweight defence against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez in Abu Dhabi on November 5 and promises to be another banner occasion for women’s boxing. However, the sport at its best should not mean we park concerns over where it’s coming up short. Adequate drug testing and provisions to ensure clean athletes are kept safe from those who cheat remains an area of concern for Cameron. “I think I’d like to see more testing,” she said. “So far I haven’t been tested in this camp.” “For me, I know I’m clean so it would be nice to know that my opponent is clean as well. It would be good to be tested more because then you’re going in there with confidence on both sides.” The Sporting News spoke to Cameron on Wednesday, October 19 – two-and-a-half weeks out from fight night. The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) — widely viewed as the gold standard for testing in boxing and a force for good in the sport — has Bivol and Ramirez listed on its website as being enrolled in its testing program, although there is no mention of the undercard fighters. Cameron has fought the majority of her career under the jurisdiction of the BBBofC. In August, the Board announced its completion of the UK Anti-Doping Framework, “which National Governing Bodies (NGBs) must fulfil to certify to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) that they are meeting their anti-doping responsibilities.” However, as a former amateur standout and member of the Team GB setup, Cameron finds the difference between testing requirements for fighters on the Olympic programme and those punching for pay to be stark.
“In the amateurs, we were tested all the time on Team GB. In pros I get tested on the night,” she said, adding that she has only ever been tested on fight night during her five-and-a-half-year professional career. For Cameron’s coach, Jamie Moore, the problems with this basic level of testing provision are obvious. “Because of the nature of drug cheating in sport, it can’t just be on the day of the fight,” he told The Sporting News. “The benefit that [fighters who cheat] are getting are in the early stages when you’re building that strength and conditioning. They do this other stuff so it gets out of their system before [a test on the day of the fight], so by the time it gets to the fight, it’s out of their system so they don’t know. “There are fighters who my guys have been in with and we’ve spoken about it loads. ‘He must have been on the gear, there’s no way you can do 10 rounds at that pace’. But nothing ever comes up on a urine sample on the day of a fight. It’s frustrating because it’s dangerous, the most dangerous sport in the world. “I’m massively, massively protective of my fighters because I know my fighters are the bravest people in the world. I’m not happy putting my fighters in with potentially those fighters who are cheating and taking drugs to enhance their performance.” Moore also trains super-lightweight world-title contender Jack Catterall, who was on the wrong end of a rotten decision in Glasgow earlier this year when he challenged 140lbs ruler Josh Taylor. A rematch between Taylor and Catterall is set to be signed for February, with the Englishman having opted against taking a non-title bout to tick over in the meantime. If Catterall, an unquestionably elite-level fighter, had taken an eight-rounder over the summer, would he have been subjected to drug tests? “Never in a million years would he have had a drug test,” Moore replied emphatically.
The former British and European super-welterweight champion believes more money has to trickle down from the top of the sport to protect fighters at all levels. “It’s not easy, is it? Otherwise it’d be done by now,” he added. “You’ve got to look at something like increasing Board tax by 1% overall. A promoter paying 3% instead of 2% won’t make a massive difference [to the promoter] but it will make a massive difference to our sport in the long run. “I don’t know how financially viable that is but it’s an idea. Promoters are earning millions and millions and millions every year. How much would it cost to do a random test every week for 20 fighters in the country and rotate it around? “If someone turns up to our gym, everyone knows we train here Monday to Friday, 10:30 to 12:30. Someone from the Boxing Board of Control, a doctor from the drug testers could come in and go ‘right – you, you and you, come in here we’re doing bloody tests’. “That should be part and parcel of the game, it shouldn’t be an issue and until we get to that point we’re always going to get situations like this.” The Sporting News has contacted the BBBofC and VADA for comment.