It was revealed on Wednesday that Benn, 26, had returned a drug test result with traces of the fertility drug clomifene, which led the British Boxing Board of Control to “prohibit” Saturday night’s main event at London’s O2 Arena.
Promoters on both sides tried to ensure that the 157lbs (71.2kg) catchweight contest would go ahead, per the wishes of Eubank Jr and Benn, but it has now been announced that the bout will not take place as planned.
A joint statement released by promoters Matchroom and Wasserman on Thursday read: “After discussions with various parties, we have taken the decision to formally postpone the bout between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn.
“It is undeniable that the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision to withdraw their sanctioning was procedurally flawed and without due process. That remains a legal issue between the promoters and the Board which we intend to pursue. However, whilst there are legal routes to facilitate the fight taking place as planned, we do not believe that it is in the fighters’ interests for those to be pursued at such a late stage, or in the wider interests of the sport.
“As promoters, we take our obligations and duties very seriously, and a full investigation will now need to take place.”
Reacting to the news, Benn wrote on Instagram: “I am truly gutted that we were unable to make this fight happen on Saturday and I’m sorry to everyone who has been affected by the postponement. I am still completely shocked and surprised by this and it has been a tough couple of days.
“My team and I will consider the next options including rescheduling the fight, but my immediate focus is on clearing my name because I am a clean athlete!”
Benn returned an “adverse analytical finding” for the fertility drug clomifene in August, following a test taken by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada). Clomifene can be used to boost testosterone levels in men and is banned inside and outside competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
Meanwhile, Eubank Jr, 33, wrote on Twitter: “Conor got caught using an illegal substance so the fight is off. Can’t believe it. I really apologise to the fans & everyone that bought tickets, traveled & booked hotels, this should not [have] happened. He has escaped his schooling… for now.”
Saturday’s bout was set to see Benn move up two weight classes, while Eubank Jr was due to cut three pounds more than usual.
The fight was scheduled to take place almost exactly 29 years to the day after the pair’s fathers, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, rounded out one of the most storied rivalries in British boxing history. Their rematch in 1993 ended as a draw, three years after Eubank had stopped Benn in the ninth round of the fighters’ first clash.