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Boxing Needs Standardised Drugs Tests

10/11/2016 13:31

From too many world titles that confuse casual fans who fail to recognise a genuine world champion, to promoters and boxers unwilling to take genuine risks once they capture a belt, modern boxing has many issues to contend with.

But there is a more pressing issue in boxing that is not talked about often enough: the problem of performance enhancing drugs.

Every year, drugs scandals affect the sport, and yet, of all the sanctioning bodies only the World Boxing Council is doing anything significant to tackle the issue.

Last month the WBC implemented its Clean Boxing Program, and proceeded to drop many notable boxers from its rankings for failing to enrol in the program that the sanctioning body have called a "historic process to keep our sport clean".

Why are other world sanctioning bodies so slow in adopting similar schemes to standardise testing for drugs?

This isn't a bike race we're talking about. Unlike many other sports, performance enhancing drugs in boxing could be a matter of life or death. Much more needs to be done in purging out the cheaters.

Even World Boxing Association featherweight champion Carl Frampton has waded in on the debate, stating in his Sunday Life column that drugs in boxing is not being tackled enough: "Drugs are a curse and although I don't think boxing has a massive problem with it, this move by the WBC is what we need to take the fight to anyone who would think about cheating."

"Now the WBC have taken this step, I would like to see the other governing bodies falling in behind them and bringing in the same rule. Not only that, I believe the British Boxing Board of Control need to do the same."

That Frampton voluntarily signed himself up for testing by UK Anti-Doping programme before his world title fight against rival Scott Quigg, highlights the fact that something is amiss.

Lately, there seems to be more fuss made by boxing authorities when a boxer tests positive for recreational drugs, such as cocaine. This has been the case with British boxers Jon Slowey and Tyson Fury.

It is worth noting that while recreational drugs don't set a great example to followers of the sport, it is unlikely that cocaine bears much impact on the result of a boxing match. Also worth noting is that both Slowey and Fury suffer depression.

Boxing needs to get more serious about drugs per se. Perhaps what's needed is a review of the punishment for boxers caught using recreational drugs, and more thorough testing in the hope of discovering more boxers that have used performance enhancing substances -- that ultimately put lives in danger.

Drugs aren't exactly hard to get hold of these days. The internet has opened up access to a variety of substances, from the availably of so-called 'smart drugs' such as Aderall, which are even legally available in America, to steroids, and even harder stuff on the Dark Web.

It's about time all sanctioning bodies start protecting boxers from the scourge of cheats that are all but ruining the sport. It shouldn't be too difficult, just standardise tests and make sure they're implemented regularly and thoroughly.

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