Australian boxer Lucas Browne and his team are investigating how the boxer could have ingested the banned substance clenbuterol, for which he tested positive after his WBA regular heavyweight world title fight with Ruslan Chagaev, following his arrival in Chechnya earlier this month.
Browne and his team, Hatton Promotions, both released statements on Wednesday claiming the Sydney-born fighter was clean when he arrived in Grozny six days before the bout – and that they have the evidence to back those claims up.
Browne, who has vigorously denied he is a drug cheat, was tested shortly after his arrival in Chechnya on 29 February by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
His blood and urine were tested by Vada, and the results – which Hatton Promotions claim have come into their possession – came back negative. “Mr Browne arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete,” the Manchester-based promoters said.
Browne said he expected a B sample from the night of the fight to reflect the A sample’s result, and he and his team’s investigations would now focus on how clenbuterol, which boosts metabolism and burns fat, came to be in his system during those six days in Chechnya.
“I wish to make it clear that I have at this stage no reason to take issue with the Vada testing of me in around the fight,” said Browne, who himself requested the bout be subject to Vada testing. “Given the result of the A sample I have no reason to believe that the B sample will provide any different result to the A sample.
“My team’s investigations will now concentrate on the period of time between the clean test on 29 February and the fight itself on 5 March. I maintain that I did not knowingly consume any banned substance, including the clenbuterol found in my system in that time.”
The 36-year-old said that following the clean test, he ate only at the hotel he was staying at in Grozny and at a meal following the weigh-in. The water he drank on the night of the fight came from sealed bottles.
Browne became Australia’s first heavyweight champion when he stopped Uzbekistan’s Chagaev in the 10th round to claim one of three WBA heavyweight belts. A big-money unification bout with Tyson Fury – who holds one of the other belts – had been touted, but the controversy over the failed drugs test threatens to derail those plans.
This article was written by Mike Hytner, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 30th March 2016 06.22 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010