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‘He’s cleared to box’: Eddie Hearn defends the return of Conor Benn

The Matchroom promoter explains Conor Benn’s return this weekend and he’s not fighting in the UK.

Eddie Hearn says Conor Benn has been cleared to fight and no one should have issues about it.
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

After the recent news that Conor Benn will be fighting this weekend in Orlando, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn joined talkSPORT Boxing to defend Benn’s return against the naysayers who believe he’s circumventing justice. Check out some of what Hearn had to say below.

Hearn on how excited he is for Benn’s return

“So excited. I mean, obviously it’s been 18 months now since he’s boxed. He’s been through a lot, he’s been through an arduous process — two processes now, two hearings — and cleared to fight.

“He’s cleared to box and that’s the reason he’s fighting this Saturday...we’re interested in seeing Conor Benn back in the ring, he’s gonna have this fight Saturday night in Orlando and then a massive fight himself in December.”

On been being cleared to fight

“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.

“So the ABC actually spoke to the British Boxing Board of Control to confirm that he wasno 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. 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.’ 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.”

On why Benn isn’t fighting in the UK if he’s able to

“Because 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.”

On if he thinks Benn can ever recapture the love from the British audience after his failed drug test tainted his image or if he’ll now be seen as the villain

“Probably the latter. And I think that’s something he’s gonna live with. We all believe in his innocence 100%, a lot of people do, and a lot of people don’t. I think that everything he’s been through in the last year, which is a helluva lot, love him or hate him the kid’s been crucified, the kid’s been at breaking point.

“Some might say ‘tough,’ some might feel sorry for him. If you start worrying about what people think about you, I don’t think you’re going to achieve anything in life and I think now he’s got to focus on his career.”

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