ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 29.5.16
So another boxer has been caught dipping his fingers into the steroid sweetie jar.
It is getting to be a habit – unfortunately a drugs habit, and it has to be stamped out as boxing catches up with other sports where cheats flagrantly abuse the system.
Lucian Bute, Canada’s Romanian-born former world super-middleweight champion who lost title fights to Brits Carl Froch and James DeGale, was found with the muscle-honing and bone-strengthening substance Ostarine in his system after his surprise draw with WBC super-middleweight champion Badou Jack on April 30.
He is the latest in a recent list of fistic junkies. Erkan Teper, Lucas Browne, Tony Thompson, Felix Sturm and the biggest fighting fish of all so far, Russia’s ex-Olympic champ Alexander Povetkin, whose B sample has now proved positive too, costing him his WBC title fight with Deontay Wilder.
Thompson and Teper both tested positive following victories over British heavyweight David Price while Aussie Browne still maintains, maybe with good reason, that he was stitched up in Chechyna.
In the course of the week I receive several missives from UK Anti-Doping and other agencies naming those miscreants in various sports , both domestically and internationally, who fail drugs tests.
Track and field athletes and rugby (both Union and League) players remain the worst offenders but boxers are moving up the doping rankings.
It is obviously of great concern to the governing bodies and it does make you wonder how many are getting away with it, which is why testing procedures must now be in place at every major tournament with random testing at gymnasiums.
It is also of concern to the vast majority of ‘clean’ boxers. I agree with the sentiments of the Selby brothers Lee and Andrew in the wake of the latest scandals.
Lee, the reigning IBF world featherweight champion, says: “Drug abuse is even worse in boxing than any other sport. We put our lives on the line and this increases the danger of serious harm. It must be one strike and out – for good.”’
Andrew, the newly-crowned British flyweight champion, adds:’A life ban is the real deterrent. Short suspensions for guilty boxers have only encouraged others to take the risk of being detected. ‘There are a very few, very exceptional cases when an athlete may have taken something unbeknown to himself. Me and my brother are clean but just to make sure I don’t fall into that trap I’ve stopped taking all supplements. It’s only Vitamin C for me now.”
It is a recipe all British fighters should follow because you can never be sure what is actually in those so-called ‘supplements.’
What I find paerticularly alarming is a report that the International Boxing Association (AIBA), who govern what used to be amateur boxing but is now ‘open’ boxing, carried out no out-of-competition drugs tests in 2015 and just one in 2014 and is in danger of non-compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s [WADA] code.
The report mentions that since the London Olympics in 2012, the out-of-competition testing has been ‘almost non-existent’ and WADA say that their anti-doping testing was “considerably short” of their standards, the lowest of done in any of the sports taking part at the Olympics.
Time fingers were pulled out and more sample bottles filled.
No-one can know for certain whether drugs-taking in boxing is a new phenomenon, because until recent years there was no effective anti-doping policy in the sport.
Several famous fight figures from the past have been under suspicion including Muhammad Ali. But I have never believed he resorted to drugs. His trainer Angelo Dundee was once asked whether Ali was ‘on the juice.’
He retorted:”No way. He only ever gets high on himself!”
Boxing’s Chinese take-away
Robert Smith, general secretary of the British Boxing Board of Control, was among those attending an IBF congress last week. Interestingly it was held in Beijing, China.
As Smith tells us, just like football, there is going to be a huge market for boxing in China, and it could be that eventually one of the sanctioning bodies base themselves there.
Both Don King and Bob Arum have already tapped into the vast market as promoters and I predict that soon we will be seeing more Chinese boxers like double Olympic gold medallist and now WBO International flyweight champion Zhou Shiming becoming global attractions.
Pro shows have already been held in Beijing, Shanghai and Macau.
Incidentally many fight fans will recall one of Robert Smith’s predecessors Ray Clarke. Many happy returns to the still-active ardent Crystal Palace fan who celebrated his 95th birthday last week.
Britannia rules the rings
With a record number of world pro champions, now in double figures, ten GB boxers qualifying for the Rio Olympics, the British Lionhearts through to the final of the WSB tournament after thrashing the Astana Arlans of Kazakhstan in the BoxNation-screened semis at York Hall last week and Nicola Adams becoming women’s world champion, British boxing unquestionably rules the rings.
We wonder how Gennady Golovkin feels about that as much of the ‘amateur’ success has been at the expense of his native Kazakhstan. Apart from the WSB defeat of the Astana Arlans, Adams added to her Olympic and European flyweight titles by winning the world title last week in the Kazakh capital, beating home-town favourite Zhaina Shekerbekova along the way.
Rule Britannia indeed! You can bet if pros do get to box in the Olympics in August Kazakhstan will be leaning heavily on Triple G to don the vest again.
He cheated, but he still couldn’t beat me, Ididn’t expect that from a gentleman like him. But I guess you can’t trust these people. I think they should give me the win now.
Badou Jack expresses his displeasure at Lucien Bute’s positive dope test following their debatably drawn world title fight.
I don’t see him as a potential opponent in a fight that’s being thrown together in this situation, I knew he made a comeback but the quality of his recent competition hasn’t been very good. I saw his last fight which was difficult to watch
Deontay Wilder’s promoter Lou DiBella rules out David Haye as the WBC champion’s’ pick-your-own’ opponent after Alexander Povetkin’s failed drugs test.
If you want a 12-round jab fest, don’t come and watch me fight. Come and see me if you want exciting knock-outs.
David Haye’s excuse for beating up bums in his comeback campaign.
OK he (Shannon Briggs) can still punch and he can sell a fight. But the possibility of him ending up in hospital again must be considered when his application to fight Haye in September lands at the British Boxing Board of Control’s door.
Boxing News editor Matt Christie echoes the concerns of many about a Haye-Briggs mis-match up.
I was still in a coma but they went ahead and did it. It isn’t human what they’ve done. It’s disgusting.My family and friends were begging them not to talk but they ignored it. That’s the Eubanks. They just want attention.
A happily recovered Nick Blackwell says he wasn’t best-pleased by the post-fight fight behaviour of Chris Eubank and son.
One guy, Tyson Fury, I like to watch him because he has my name and stuff. ,Everybody says ‘ah, he’s a bum’, but I like him. He beat Klitschko, so what are you going to say? That this guy is still a bum, but he beat the greatest fighter in the last 15 years?
Praise from Caesar as Mike Tyson bigs up his British namesake.
Coming on Tuesday – exclusive Big Interview with Britain’s new big-hitting light-heavyweight sensation Anthony Yarde