Eddie Hearn has said he feels like a villain and described himself as 'Dr Evil' following the fallout of Conor Benn's failed drug's test.
In what was one of most anticipated fights of the year, the O2 was set to stage a generational clash between the sons of legendary British boxers Chris Eubank Sr and Nigel Benn last month. But with the fight just days away, shocking news emerged that Benn, 26, tested positive for clomifene.
Despite Hearn’s best efforts to ensure it still went ahead on October 8, the fight with Eubank Jr was postponed and the Matchroom promoter received plenty of criticism throughout the entire ordeal. In an interview with The Metro, the 43-year-old opened up on how his perception among fans in the sport has changed over the years.
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“I like to feel people appreciate what we’re trying to do for the sport and when you come to a new territory, the love you get because they’re not used to it, is refreshing,” he said. “The best thing that happened to me is I had a show in Australia, a show in Mexico, then Abu Dhabi.
“I felt like a hero – in England I felt like a villain because of the Conor Benn situation and that’s soul-destroying. All of a sudden you fall back in love with the sport again in places like Abu Dhabi – when I started out, I was a breath of fresh air, now I’m controlling boxing, I’m Dr Evil and I prefer the other (side). I like the pats on the back, everybody does.”
Clomifene is a drug used to help fertility in women but it can also help to increase testosterone levels, which was found in Benn's sample. Benn has maintained his innocence and stressed that he is clean, and still wanted the fight to go ahead, which of course did not materialise.
It is unknown when that fight will be rescheduled, but Hearn explained how the fallout from the postponed bout has been his toughest time in the sport. “Probably. Everything escalates,” he added. “Other people wouldn’t get as much stick because they don’t have my profile.”
Benn, who gave up his BBBofC licence, and Hearn believes he might have to serve a short ban. Last month Benn feared he was spiked by someone in or around some of the gyms he uses and his camp now believe contamination was the cause — but they still have a battle on their hands in trying to prove it.
He told SunSport: “I was informed (of the first fail) and I thought, ‘It’s probably a faulty test’. I thought, ‘We’ll get to the bottom of it’. We’re still trying to do that. We’re making progress.
“But the way it’s been blown up has affected me so much. My innocence will be proven. It has to be. Trace amounts were found. The tiniest of traces. The only thing I can think of is contamination.”
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