(Quebec) If Eddie Hearn wanted to make the ink flow, he succeeded in his bet. If he wanted to disturb three-time light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev a few days before his clash against his protégé Callum Smith, he failed miserably.
Hearn made a lot of noise about an atypical anti-doping test suffered by Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) on December 6. The results of the latter demonstrated higher levels of human growth hormones and androstaniol.
“As a promoter of a boxer in the other corner, it’s concerning,” Hearn said Thursday. We asked VADA how this is possible and how to explain these results. We want to know. We are not scientists. But we can’t do anything because it’s not a positive test.
“In my eyes, there are only two possible outcomes: the test is completely negative, or it is positive. But when you see this, you are worried. But I insist: we are not accusing Artur Beterbiev of doping. But I wouldn’t be doing my job as a promoter if I didn’t ask the questions or come to his defense. […] I would have preferred the information to come out sooner so that we could have a frank discussion on this subject. »
Three subsequent tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) – Eye of the Tiger Management first spoke of four – demonstrated that the Montrealer of Russian origin was clean.
The trainer of the champion of the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO), Marc Ramsay, reacted strongly on Friday to the comments of Hearn, who is head of the international Matchroom Boxing promotion group.
After the official weigh-in of the gala scheduled for Saturday at the Videotron Center, Ramsay emphasized the extent to which his boxer had submitted to all the requirements of the VADA (mandated by the promoters of the two clans) during the two training camps for this duel, first planned for last August.
“You have your answer: if the test had been positive, we would not be here, the show would have been canceled. VADA is not asking the organizers to cancel, the show is simply canceled,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay also reminded Hearn that you shouldn’t throw the first stones when you live in a glass tower.
“Of course he’s trying to play in our heads with this. The funny thing is, this is the same guy who let another one of my boxers, Oscar Rivas, into the ring with a doped guy, Dillian Whyte. I’m still waiting for the results of sample B, I never got them. You can pass the message on to him. »
Another boxer from the Hearn stable, Conor Benn, is also the subject of doping accusations. Benn failed two drug tests, leading to the cancellation of his fight against Chris Eubank Jr. His suspension was lifted last July, but the British anti-doping body, UKAD, appealed the decision a few weeks later.
Ramsay believes the promoter made this exit two days before the event to try to “play in the head” of Beterbiev. On this point, it was a failure: the champion did not allow himself to be affected by this swagger.
“Artur is so focused that he looked at me and wanted to say: ‘If I’m positive, let’s cancel.’ But nothing has been canceled. […] He also understands [Hearn’s] game. We are very focused on the objective. »
Ramsay does not feel that the reputation of his most illustrious protégé is tainted.
“It’s unclear why this test came back abnormal. But I have already seen this with other boxers, he stressed. It happens. This is the first time in Artur’s case.
“He’s going to be tested again after the fight. We were randomly tested five times during camp. The way I see it, you’re pregnant or you’re not: you can’t be “semi-pregnant”. »
Ramsay also emphasizes that if his boxer wanted to cheat, his team would not have used the services of the VADA.
“We are the ones who requested the tests. Right in the middle of the first camp, we realized that [the testers of the] VADA were not arriving. We contacted [VADA president] Margaret Goodman to ask if steps had been taken in preparation for the fight. When she told us no, we demanded that both promoters do it. »
Ramsay, however, believes that all this is fair game and he does not blame Hearn for playing this card.
” It’s normal. We want to disturb in every way and I have already done similar things to disturb the opponent. The goal for both camps is to win this fight. […] You try to find every possible weakness in your opponent. »
As for the weigh-in, it went without incident.
Both Beterbiev and Smith (29-2, 21 KO) respected the 175-pound limit (175 against 174.6). Ditto for the Australian Jason Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) and the American Saul Sanchez (20-2, 12 KOs), who will face each other in the other championship of the world on display, that of the WBO bantamweights, belt held by Moloney.
Nine fights will be presented in total starting at 5:30 p.m., including the one between super middleweight Christian Mbilli (25-0, 21 KOs) and Australian Rohan Murdock (27-2, 19 KOs). .), while the Montrealer of French origin will try to defend his WBC Continental and WBA International titles.
More than 10,000 spectators are expected at the home of the Remparts de Québec. Those who cannot attend can purchase the gala at PunchingGrace.com.