News broke yesterday that Lucas Browne failed his post-fight drug test after winning the WBA heavyweight title against Ruslan Chagaev earlier this month. Browne's promoter, Ricky Hatton, has now issued a statement on the matter in which he asserts his belief that Browne is a clean athlete. The statement from Hatton, received by WBN, reads:
"Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions were made aware late last night that Lucas Browne delivered a positive A sample drug test following his world title win over Ruslan Chagaev.
We believe strongly that boxing should be free performance enhancing drugs. However, we believe Lucas Browne to be a clean athlete who arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete.
We are therefore conducting our own investigations and cannot comment further at this time."
It appears that the WBA are now awaiting the results of Browne's B sample test before taking action on the results. Should Browne fail that test as well, his big win over Chagaev will almost assuredly be overturned, stripping him of his title, and he'll face a lengthy suspension while being branded a cheat.
But Browne stands firm that he's not guilty of any drug use and issues his own statement to WBN where he assures his fans, and the rest of the world, that he's no drug user. Part of his statement reads:
"Prior to today I had not heard of the drug clenbuterol and had no idea what it was used for. I am now aware that it is essentially a weight-stripping drug, and as a heavyweight boxer the idea of me using it is utterly ridiculous. I am a staunch long-time opponent of any drug use, performance-enhancing or otherwise."
This whole episode can't help but make me think of when Tyson Fury claimed that Wladimir Klitschko's team were a bunch of cheats -- and that he had to travel home dehydrated out of fear they would try to slip him something to make him fail his post-fight drug test. Do things like this really happen in boxing?!