WBC halts Clean Boxing Program amid pandemic

Boxing

The WBC, the one sanctioning body long at the forefront of randomly drug testing boxers year-round, has suspended its Clean Boxing Program during the coronavirus pandemic.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced the decision over the weekend on social media.

“It is not possible to collect samples as collectors and boxers must abide by the current policies,” Sulaiman wrote. “We will evaluate conditions in 3 weeks. Let’s all participate. #StayHome.”

Unlike the other sanctioning organizations, the WBC requires that all of its titleholders and ranked contenders enroll in the Clean Boxing Program, which is overseen by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, and be available for random testing. If they do not, the fighters are dropped from the WBC rankings, making them ineligible to fight for titles.

While suspending the program was necessary due the logistical issues caused by the pandemic, it was a surprise to many that Sulaiman would make an announcement because it has created a window for fighters to potentially use performance-enhancing drugs knowing they would not be tested.

However, Sulaiman said he simply spoke the truth when he announced the temporary suspension of the program.

“We believe in #StayHome and we expect all [of the] boxing community to do the same and all participate in fighting the virus,” Sulaiman told ESPN on Monday. “No collectors can be on the streets and no fighter can be in the gym. Also, we are trying to set people’s mind into thinking short term and not get anxious in thinking months. Very simple — we suspended three weeks and we are certain in such time the world will be different.

“There are greater things today to worry about other than the perception that this could lead to doping or cheating. This is the WBC point of view. We respect if it is not shared by others.”

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