Why Browne’s drugs test shock needs further investigation

posted on: 24/03/2016

FRANK WARREN’S SCRAPBOOK – 24.3.16

I have no idea if the new WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne is a drugs cheat but I believe he should be given every opportunity to prove that he isn’t.

Lucas Browne

Something surely worthy of an immediate and thorough investigation by the WBA and relevant anti-doping authorities.

Why on earth would a heavyweight boxer take the banned substance clenbuterol, which my medical friends tell me is principally a diuretic? Surely the last thing any heavyweight wants to do before a fight is lose weight.

True it has other properties and some athletes have used it as a stimulant but it is easily detectable so why would Browne have personally insisted that the proper VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) procedures should be strictly followed if he was up to anything dodgy?

As we know only too well from recent revelations, Russia is mired in drugs doping skullduggery. They are past masters in the dark art of drugs use. You don’t need Lord Coe to tell you that. Or Maria Sharapova.

Who knows what went on in Chechnya, which is a Russian republic, when the tests were performed?

Browne says he and his team were well aware of the risks in going into a relatively lawless place like Grozny to fight a reigning champion from Eastern Europe and took every precaution.

So is it possible his food or drink was spiked? According to Browne that is the only plausible explanation but it will be hard to prove. Russians are experts at covering up dirty deeds. You have only to recall the infamous case of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer given political asylum here but who died as a victim of lethal polonium after taking tea with some of his old comrades in London.

That example may be a bit far-fetched but I do tend to have some sympathy with Browne when he insists that he is not a drugs cheat and is a staunch opponent of drugs use.

Of course they all say that but in Browne’s case he surely had too much to lose knowing he was on dangerous territory anyway in Chechyna.

Boxing is certainly not exempt from drug abuse these days but I have never heard of the use of clenbuterol which can be used o treat asthma, but it can also help build up lean muscle mass and burn off fat.

The drug’s growth-promoting ability has also found favour with beef farmers and the fact that humans can ingest the substance inadvertently by eating beef has in the past put pressure on anti-doping rules, which deem the slightest trace to be a doping infringement. Apparently there have been some cases reported in Australia.

We await the result of the testing of his B sample but if this is positive he will have a far tougher fight on his hands than he did against Chaegev, for the anti-doping regulations stipulate unequivocally that an athlete is personally responsible for any substance which goes into his or her own body.

One small consolation that unbeaten British boxer Kid Galahad has had his two-year ban for taking the steroid stanazolol reduced on appeal after UK Anti-Doping apparently accepted his plea that his drink was spiked by his own brother after an argument over money.

More from Frank’s Scrapbook tomorrow

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