Eddie Hearn defends shock Conor Benn return this weekend despite Brit not being licensed to fight in UK over doping saga

EDDIE HEARN has defended his decision to book Conor Benn amid his ongoing doping scandal.

Benn, 26, has been sidelined for the last year following two failed voluntary drug tests ahead of his cancelled clash with Chris Eubank Jr but returns to the ring on Saturday night.

MATCHROOM BOXINGConor Benn makes his return to the ring in Orlando this weekend[/caption]

GETTYBenn hasn’t fought since last April after failing two drug tests before his cancelled clash with Chris Eubank Jr last October[/caption]

GETTYPromoter Eddie Hearn has defended the decision to book Benn while he’s ineligible box in the UK[/caption]

He was cleared of intentionally ingesting the banned fertility drug clomiphene – which can elevate testosterone levels in men – by the National Anti-Doping Panel but the verdict was appealed by UKAD and British Boxing Board of Control.

Benn ripped up his BBBoC license over his row with the governing body, which didn’t have the power to suspend him as they don’t recognise VADA testing.

Benn was provisionally suspended by UKAD but the ban was lifted in August, which Hearn insists is enough justification to have him back in action this weekend.

During an appearance on talkSPORT, he said: “Yeah, absolutely [he could fight in the UK. He’s cleared to fight. He is no longer suspended.

“I mean this is something that people keep sort of forgetting to talk about.

“He went through a process, his suspension was lifted, he was cleared to box.

“And in this process itself, what people I think probably don’t know is the ABC, which is the governing body of America would not let him fight unless he was cleared to fight in the UK.

“I.e. his suspension was lifted.

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“So the ABC actually spoke to the British Boxing Board of Control to confirm that he was no longer suspended.

“Once they were aware of that and that was confirmed, they cleared him to fight.

“Then the Texas Athletic Commission where he is licensed then cleared him to fight.”

Hearn understands the scrutiny surrounding Benn’s return against Mexican Rodolfo Orozco, so much so that he’s subjected him to rigorous testing.

The Matchroom Boxing chief said: “He’s had to undergo multiple testing procedures during this camp as well over the last 12 weeks.

“Florida wanted to see all of that and once they saw it, and they actually requested additional testing which occurred as well — he’s cleared to fight.

“I saw a lot of things saying, ‘Oh he’s hopping around the world to fight.’

MATCHROOM BOXINGConor Benn faces Rodolfo Orozco in Orlando on Saturday night[/caption]

“No, the ABC of America spoke to the British Boxing Board of Control to confirm that he’s not suspended and ultimately he is clear to fight.”

Hearn insists the short-notice booking of Benn had nothing to do with the fact the Brit can’t box in his home nation.

The 44-year-old said: “He’s already licensed with the Texas Commission as he has been for the last couple of months.

“There was a slot available on this show. I expect his next fight to be in the UK.

“In fact, as soon as we finish this fight we’ll be putting in a request for him to box in December.

“We have shows all around the world and this was the slot that he took and it’s the first fight back.

“And we’ll move on to a fight in December which we hope and believe will be in the UK.”

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