Lucas Browne, the Australian heavyweight who went to Russia in March and beat veteran Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA "world" heavyweight title, has been stripped of his belt after the "B" sample for his drug test also came back positive. It was revealed a couple of weeks after his win over Chagaev that Browne, 37, had tested positive for clenbuterol.
Browne, whose will will also be overturned, stopped Chagaev in the 10th round. He and his team have maintained that he was clean going into the fight, and have suggested something he ate or drank was contaminated. Browne says he'll leave things to his team from here:
I’m leaving everything to my lawyer, Mr Leon Margules. I thank everyone for their support, especially the people and fans of Australia.— Lucas Browne (@lucasBrowne) May 13, 2016
Browne also claimed about a month ago that he passed an independent polygraph test, which he says proves that he did not knowingly use a banned substance. The failed test was conducted by VADA, an organization Browne and his team demanded for the fight.
Browne tested clean four days before arriving in Russia, but the WBA was really left with no choice in the situation given that there is no proof that something he ate or drank was contaminated, sabotaged, or anything else. But there is a lot of skepticism out there, and not just from Browne and his management.
The WBA has also suspended Browne for six months, the minimum for this type of case.
"Whether Browne knowingly or voluntarily took the prohibited substance is of no consequence concerning the no contest ruling and only carries any weight for purposes of determining the suspension period. The boxer and his representatives are ultimately responsible for what the boxer ingests," the WBA said.
The ruling also sets up Chagaev, 37, for a mandatory bogus title defense against Fres Oquendo, the 43-year-old Puerto Rican who lost a controversial majority decision to Chagaev in 2014 and hasn't fought since. If Chagaev fights -- there are rumors he'll retire, regardless of getting the belt back and having his last loss erased -- then the winner of the WBA's also pointless "interim" title fight between Luis Ortiz and Alexander Ustinov would have to face Chagaev, and then the winner of all this mess would eventually, maybe, perhaps get to face the winner between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, a rematch happening on July 9. Fury has said he'll retire no matter what happens in that fight, but Fury says lots of things.
Long story short, the WBA's heavyweight scene is a ridiculous mess, but Lucas Browne is no longer involved in that mess.