It’s been an ugly week in the sport of boxing with a failed drugs test dominating the headlines and some undercard mayhem ahead of Chantelle Cameron and Katie Taylor’s monumental showdown in Ireland next month.
There have been some positives though, namely the announcement of a mouth-watering cruiserweight world title fight between two Brits and news of a potentially huge fight for Sunny Edwards down the line. Here are five boxing stories you might have missed this week.
Amir Khan Hit With A Two Year Ban
In boxing’s biggest story of the week, former world champion Amir Khan was handed a two year ban after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine.
Khan tested positive for the drug, designed to have similar effects as testosterone, in a UKAD test taken on 19 February 2022, the night he lost to Kell Brook.
- Khan Faces Questions Over His Legacy After Failed Anti-Doping Test
- Lawrence Okolie Goes Into The Lion's Den Against Chris Billam-Smith
- Every Hagler, Leonard, Duran And Hearns Meeting Ranked
Khan, who retired last May, insists it was not intentional but accepts that he broke anti-doping rules. An independent tribunal has also ruled out "deliberate or reckless conduct" from the 36-year-old.
"I've never cheated," Khan told Sky Sports News. "But I've got a two-year ban now, which is quite strange and funny because I'm already retired anyway.
"There's no comeback planned at all. But I've never cheated and I never will. That's just not something I would do."
"I have to take some sort of responsibility. End of the day it's been found in my system. I can honestly say this is something I would never ever do [cheating].
"It was such a tiny amount, it was no benefit at all. I should have maybe taken more precautions.
"I don't want to be remembered for something like this."
Ellie Scotney Taken Off Cameron vs Taylor Undercard
Ellie Scotney has been removed from the undercard of Chantelle Cameron’s undisputed light-welterweight showdown with Katie Taylor on 20 May in Dublin, at Cameron’s request.
Scotney had been in line to face Australia’s Cherneka Johnson for the IBF super-bantamweight belt, her first world title fight, but on Tuesday shared that she had been pulled from the card due to Cameron’s experiences with her former trainer, and Scotney’s current trainer, Shane McGuigan.
"I am incredibly disappointed to say that I am now hearing I will be removed from the May 20th card in Dublin due to Chantelle Cameron and her manager insisting to my promoter that I'm not allowed to be on her undercard because of who trains me,” Scotney said in a statement.
Cameron released her own statement soon after, saying: "A few years ago I almost walked away from the sport I love because of what I went through with my team.
"I would have hoped that she [Scotney] would have understood the situation and how important our mental health is going into fights like these, especially as the away fighter in Dublin where Katie is hailed as a national treasure, the last thing I need is more intimidation.
"It brings me to this point where I am in the biggest fight of my life.
"It has not been an easy road and it has not been an easy decision for my team to make, but they have to protect me in this situation and I have to protect myself.
"I am sorry this impacts Ellie, this is not about her, and even though I don't appreciate being publicly bullied and shamed into trying to change the decision last night, I really do wish her well moving forward and know that there are big opportunities around the corner for her."
Lawrence Okolie To Defend WBO Title Against Chris Billam-Smith
WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie will defend his title against former sparring partner Chris Billam-Smith at the Vitality Stadium, home of the challenger’s beloved AFC Bournemouth, on May 27th.
"I love [Chris] as a person but I'm here to make a statement," Okolie said. "It's almost unfortunate as I like Chris, but I have to do what I have to do."
Okolie has gone 19 fights unbeaten in his professional career, stopping 14 of his opponents, and most recently retained his title with a unanimous decision win over New Zealand’s David Light in March. ‘The Gentleman’ Billam Smith has only tasted defeat once in 18 bouts and has stopped 12 of his opponents inside the distance.
May 27th is set to be a bumper night of boxing, with Leigh Wood’s rematch with Mauricio Lara for the WBA featherweight title taking place at the Manchester Arena and Michael Conlan’s IBF featherweight showdown against Luis Alberto Lopez in Belfast all happening on the same night.
WBA Orders Oleksandr Usyk Vs Daniel Dubois
World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has been ordered by the World Boxing Association to defend his unified titles against Daniel Dubois.
This comes after negotiations between the WBA, IBF and WBO champion and WBC title-holder Tyson Fury collapsed last month. Despite accepting the Brit’s demands of a 70/30 purse split for the undisputed title bout, the undefeated Ukrainian walked away from talks citing Fury’s excessive demands, including removing the rematch clause, as the reason why.
Dubois has only been beaten once in 20 professional fights, a devastating knockout loss to Joe Joyce in 2020. 18 of the hard-hitting Dubois’ 19 wins have come inside the distance, including all four since that loss to Joyce, with none of those making it past four rounds.
Both parties now have 30 days to agree on terms, after which purse bids will be made.
Sunny Edwards Could Face Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez Next
Promoter Eddie Hearn believes an flyweight unification title fight between Jesse “Bam’ Rodriguez and IBF world champion Sunny Edwards could happen next, providing Rodriguez’s contest with Cristian Gonzalez for the vacant WBO bauble goes to plan this weekend.
Former super-featherweight champion Rodriguez is aiming to become a two-weight champion when he takes on Gonzalez in San Antonio on Saturday, and victory could trigger a unification with Edwards in the United States this summer.
“The whole reason Jesse gave up the belt at 115 was to win all the belts at 112,” Hearn told BoxingScene.com. “We got a ready-made unification with Sunny Edwards for Bam if wins this weekend. That’s why we signed him. He’s a brilliant fighter. He could possibly run through the entire division, to be quite honest. But Bam is an exceptional talent as well.
“It’s a terrific matchup to do over here. That’s the type of fight we could bring to a bigger venue.”
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