Brook stopped Khan in the sixth round of a grudge match in February 2022. In the wake of that bout, Khan tested positive for the banned substance ostarine, though he insists the ingestion of the bodybuilding drug was not intentional. Drugs tests after fights are conducted by independent companies.
Ukad’s scientific experts ruled that it was highly unlikely to have entered his system before 12 February. The fight took place on 19 February. However, it was accepted by an independent tribunal that he had not deliberately taken a banned substance, and so an initial ban of four years was reduced to two.
i has been told Khan will not be able to appeal against the decision, with the ban covering all sports, not just boxing. One source who has worked closely with Khan described the revelations as a “complete shock”.
Khan was first told of his ban on 6 April 2022 and confirmed his retirement the following month.
The news only emerged on Tuesday because the case had been referred to the National Anti-Doping Panel, with an independent hearing taking place on 24 January. Khan was found guilty of two violations.
However, the promoters for Brook vs Khan only found out about the failed test and legal process resulting from it on social media on Tuesday morning, leaving Boxxer CEO Ben Shalom furious.
“I called the board [British Boxing Board of Control] today when I saw it on social media and said, ‘Do you know about this?’ and they said, ‘I only found out yesterday,’” Shalom told i, speaking at the launch of a domestic world title fight between cruiserweights Lawrence Okolie and Chris Billam-Smith, who will fight on 27 May at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth.
“We didn’t even know there was a process. We didn’t even know [Khan] failed a test.
“It’s completely insane. And it’s dangerous.
“There should be no getting out of failing a drug test. It doesn’t matter whether it’s intentional, doesn’t matter what it was. That’s it. A strict liability ban. And it needs to be governed by a world governing body not multiple different people having different opinions with different rules.
“It is just communication and it’s bullshit. I’m shocked.”
In a statement, Ukad described ostarine as a “selective androgen receptor modulator”. It is not approved for human consumption.
It added: “The substance is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2022 Prohibited List as an anabolic agent and is prohibited in sport at all times.
“Mr Khan accepted the violations charged but maintained that his ingestion of ostarine was not ‘intentional’. The panel also disqualified Mr Khan’s result from the bout against Mr Brook.”
Ukad consider it a “rare case” and believe it is “conceivable that he would have sought to ingest a micro-dose” that would not have enhanced his performance.
At the time of the Brook fight, Khan was represented by promotional company Boxxer, which is run by Shalom.
It said: “Boxxer is disappoined to only learn via social media this morning that Amir Khan has been suspended from all sports following UKAD rule violations.
“Boxxer is vehemently against the use of any illegal or performance enhancing substance taken by athletes and condemns such unsporting behaviour. It goes against the very core of our company’s values. We will await further advice from the relevant authorities.”
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Khan spoke for the first time since his ban was made public, responding: “I never cheated. I’m a retired fighter. At the same time you can see by my performance, my performance against Kell Brook wasn’t the best, I lost the fight. If I went in and knocked Kell Brook out it’s different.
“I’ve never cheated in my life. I’m the one who wanted the testing on the fight and also the amount that was in my system could have been by shaking people’s hand.”
Asked how a bodybuilding drug had got into his system, he replied: “I don’t know what drug was in my system. I’m a retired fighter so I’ve got a two-year ban now it’s quite strange and funny that they’ve rang me, I’m already retired anyway. No comeback plans at all but I’ve never cheated and I never will, that’s not something I would do.”
It is yet another black mark on boxing, coming amidst the row surrounding Conor Benn, who has not been cleared by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) over the failed drugs test that led to the collapse of his catchweight bout with Chris Eubank Jr last October.
The WBC cleared him, suggesting a high consumption of eggs had led to positive traces of the fertility drug clomiphene, though that was never part of Benn’s defence. i understands that despite Benn not currently having a UK license, the Eubank Jr fight is set to be announced in the coming days, with Abu Dhabi the most likely host.
Unlike Benn, Khan is a former world champion, having won the WBA light-welterweight title in 2009. That does not make the Benn case less significant, but it tarnishes an even greater legacy and will only raise more questions about how serious the boxing authorities are about making sure it is a clean sport.
“We’ve seen so many moments over the past 12 months that should have told us something needs to change,” Shalom said.
“It’s not just drugs. It’s the whole sport, the way the sport is run, the way the sport is done. It’s a joke. The behaviour of people is a joke as well. The behaviour of promoters and managers that think that fights should go ahead despite failed drug tests and things like that.
“It’s embarrassing, but ultimately, they can’t be the ones that govern the sport. There has to be a governing body, there has to be something cohesive, unified, unilateral across all territories, across all bodies, especially when it comes to health and safety and drugs.”