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Do I look like an idiot? Google this drug, it stays in your body for months, says tearful Conor Benn after dope scandal

CONOR BENN wiped away the tears as he launched the fight to rescue his battered reputation.

The 26-year-old welterweight — the son of British legend Nigel — is battling to save his career after his bout with Chris Eubank Jr was dramatically called off this month.

Conor Benn says dealing with British boxing chiefs has turned into a nightmare
Conor Benn revealed he hates being seen as the villain because he is innocent

Trace amounts of female fertility drug clomifene were found in his urine from Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency tests given on July 25 and September 1.

Benn has refused to allow the British Boxing Board of Control to share his data in the escalating dispute about the confidentiality and jurisdiction of his VADA tests.

Relinquishing his BBBofC licence will look like an admission of guilt to some.

Promoter Eddie Hearn believes he might have to serve a short ban, to quench a thirst for punishment among fans who are sick of concussive punchers getting slaps on the wrist for drug violations.

In Benn’s corner is a thorough timeline of events, low levels of the substance found in his system, a range of later VADA and UK Anti-Doping tests that he passed, an expert doping lawyer in Mike Morgan — as well as plausible possible explanations from contaminated foods to faulty testing.

Speaking to SunSport in his first big interview since the drugs storm erupted, Benn promised he will not abuse a loophole and compete on a rival licence — or in another country — until the case against him is closed.

He said: “I wouldn’t want to fight without this being resolved. But should I really care about playing the system? I do, so I wouldn’t.

“But part of me thinks, if people are portraying me as the villain, I might as well be the villain. I haven’t really decided yet.

“I won’t fight until this is resolved, with a foreign licence or not. Whether people believe it or not is not down to me. But there comes a stage where you harden and think, ‘Eff you, then’.

“I don’t want to get to there but I also don’t want to keep getting hurt by this. It’s horrible dealing with this at 26 after working so hard every day.

“I wonder if I can ever fight again right now. But I cannot let them win.

“I could get fit enough, I could just compartmentalise, switch off and focus on the training. But I didn’t want to be the villain because I am innocent.

“I just want my innocence to be proven. I don’t care about the Board.

“I could fight in another county in February — but I don’t want to do that because it looks like I am running away. I hope this is well cleared up by then.

“I don’t know if this is a battle I can win, so then I think about just playing the villain.

“It baffles me that people think I have cheated after seeing me on TV for so long, what I am like with my team, family and dad. Am I serial liar?”

A VADA test taken on July 25 came back with an adverse finding towards the end of August but Benn’s camp treated the red flag as an accident or error.

They continued with his training camp while his team and lawyers tried to explain the issue.

But a second test taken on September 1 and reported on September 23 triggered more alarm bells.

Benn feared he was spiked by someone in or around some of the gyms he uses.

He has even researched clomifene and discovered it is being used to boost egg production in chickens.

Benn’s camp now believe contamination was the cause — but they still have a battle on their hands in trying to prove it.

He said: “I was informed (of the first fail) and I thought, ‘It’s probably a faulty test’.

“I thought, ‘We’ll get to the bottom of it’. We’re still trying to do that. We’re making progress.

“But the way it’s been blown up has affected me so much. My innocence will be proven. It has to be.

“I passed all my UKAD tests, which people aren’t talking about. I’ve passed all my tests in and out of camp. I’ve been a professional for seven years and never failed a test.

“I signed up to VADA in February, so it doesn’t  make any sense. Why would I take something then?

“Trace amounts were found. The tiniest of traces. The only thing I can think of is contamination.

“I’ve not taken anything. I never have done, never would. It’s not what I stand for, it’s not what my team stands for.

“Why would I take the biggest fight of my life, sign up to VADA — voluntary anti-doping — and then take this substance?

“If you Google this substance, it stays in your system for months. Do I look like an idiot?”

Benn does not come across as an idiot.

He knows he can box in the UK on a foreign licence, he knows he could box abroad — and that if the WBC decide to ban him for failing their Clean Boxing Program, he has the WBA, IBF and WBO left to deal with.

But he concedes he cannot face fighting while there is still a dark cloud of doubt hanging over him.

Benn’s legal and scientific fees run into six figures and his mind races over all the possible causes of his red flags.

He added: “The traces were so low there was no benefit. The science will prove that.

“I’ve got the best scientists on this. And I am now spending a lot of money trying to prove my innocence here. A lot of money.

“You are talking about me really trying to prove my innocence and get to the bottom of what has happened here.

“I don’t want to run away from this, or hide, I shouldn’t need to. I shouldn’t need to revoke my licence. They forced me into a corner on this.

“My innocence matters to me. It hurts. It’s hard for me to explain what kind of pain this is.”

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