‘It doesn’t look good’: Campbell Hatton admits family friend Conor Benn’s explanation for his two failed drugs tests is ‘confusing’ and understands why some fans are ‘completely writing him off’, but believes he would not ‘knowingly’ cheat
- Conor Benn failed two drugs tests ahead of his fight with Chris Eubank Jr
- Campbell Hatton doesn’t believe Benn would have deliberately cheated
- Hatton does feel Benn needs to show more information to prove his innocence
Campbell Hatton doesn’t believe Conor Benn deliberately cheated after he failed two drugs tests ahead of his scheduled fight with Chris Eubank Jr last year, but has admitted he needs to do more to prove his innocence.
Benn was due to fight Eubank Jr in a grudge match in October with both men looking to continue their family legacies after their fathers fought twice in the 1990s.
But the fight was cancelled just 48 hours before it was due to take place after Benn tested positive for the banned substance clomifene.
He later admitted he had failed another test for the same substance earlier in his training camp, but denied any wrongdoing.
After sending a 270-page dossier to the WBC in December in an attempt to prove his innocence, the sanctioning body cleared Benn to fight again last month having ruled that the Brit’s ‘highly-elevated consumption of eggs’ was a ‘reasonable explanation’ for how the clomifene got into his system.
Conor Benn’s scheduled fight with Chris Eubank Jr was cancelled at the last minute
Benn recently sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan to tell his side of the story
Campbell Hatton doesn’t believe Benn would deliberately cheat but has called for him to produce more information
Benn has since denied claiming that eggs caused his positive tests, instead pointing to laboratory errors, and sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan on Monday to try and tell his side of the story.
Hatton has spent time with Benn, and their fathers Ricky and Nigel are friends after establishing themselves as two of the most popular fighters Britain has ever produced during their respective careers.
Hatton, who has moved to 9-0 as a professional and is due to fight again on Saturday, feels Benn wouldn’t knowingly take a performance-enhancing drug, but has conceded the situation has become confusing, making it difficult to determine who is telling the truth.
‘When I heard it, I was massively surprised,’ Hatton told Sportsmail when asked for his initial reaction to Benn’s failed tests.
‘From the time I’ve spent with him, I didn’t think that he’d knowingly do that. Obviously, he’s still denying it now. Conor has given his argument, but he’s not been able to say too much on it or give too many details. It’s all quite confusing.
‘From listening to him talk on the interview he did with Piers Morgan, you could see how passionately he’s talking. It’s a hard one because it does look like he believes everything he’s saying is true, and the fact that he’s sort of been given a way out by the WBC, even though it’s been ridiculed saying it’s come from eggs, he could have just took that.
‘We’ve seen other fighters like Canelo where he said tainted beef and that got ridiculed, but it got him out of the trouble and it doesn’t really get mentioned as his career’s carried on. He could have easily done that, and he hasn’t. Does that suggest that there is some truth in what he’s saying?’
Benn has been vocal on social media, hitting out at those doubting him while teasing a comeback following the WBC’s verdict.
Yet while the WBC may be satisfied with Benn’s explanation, Hatton is unconvinced by the information provided to the public so far, and has called on Benn to do more to win over his critics.
‘I think we definitely need more (information to prove his innocence). I get it that if it’s affecting legal cases that he can’t say too much, but I think possibly don’t say anything at all unless you can say everything,’ Hatton continued.
‘I can see why everyone’s on at him and completely writing him off already because we’ve only really had one side of it in full.
‘I’m a bit reluctant to make my mind up on it until you can hear both sides of it, ‘cause they’ve got this big 270-page document that we’re all a bit clueless on. Time will tell. I don’t think he’d knowingly do it, but the information that’s been presented to us doesn’t look good.’
In the aftermath of his failed drugs tests, Benn voluntarily relinquished his British boxing licence, and has subsequently revealed that he plans to sue the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) for their handling of his situation.
The 26-year-old is keen to continue his career, but looks set to do so abroad amid his ongoing dispute with the BBBC.
Hatton has urged Benn to settle his differences with the governing body to enable him to fight in the UK in front of his home fans.
‘I think he needs to settle it with the board,’ Hatton said.
Hatton wants to see Benn settle his dispute with the BBBC so he can box in the UK again
‘He’s saying he’s got his reasons that are separate to what’s going on at the minute for not wanting to renew his licence. The conduct issues they were threatening him with, I’m not too sure the ins and outs of that, but Conor Benn is a big name in the UK and that’s where he needs to be fighting for me.
‘There are big fights that he can have abroad and it is doable, but for me, he should be boxing over here. That’s where he’s built his following.
‘Even if he doesn’t want a British licence, you can still box over here a bit like Tyson Fury does. But if the relationship with the board has soured, he won’t even be able to do that.
‘If it was me, I’d want to be able to carry on fighting in the place where I’ve built that fanbase and the following.’
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