THE year 2019 produced plenty of quality, excitement and achievement. That much was clear when the Boxing News team sat down to discuss our Fights and Fighters of the Year. Positive signs aplenty, but the outlook is not all rosy as we head into 2020 with multiple titles and the issue of drugs muddying the forecast.
Last year there were six high profile cases of boxers failing tests or producing adverse findings (that we know of). A seventh, Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, declined to take a test when asked to. Only one, Jarrell Miller, was universally outed as a cheat (probably because numerous illegal substances were found in his body rather than the hard to investigate micro-trace). But none of them, not even Miller, received a universal worldwide ban.
Two Mexican fighters, Rey Vargas and Julio Cesar Martinez, failed tests which resulted in the World Boxing Council (WBC) – on the advice of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – rewriting the rules so those failures became passes. The case of Dillian Whyte was also troubling for different reasons. After an adverse test result he was permitted to fight on the morning of his July contest with Oscar Rivas by an independent panel, yet he had to wait four months before United Kingdom Anti-Doping confirmed his innocence. Irrespective of how that story broke, the fact remains it did break, and UKAD should have fixed it immediately. It is not the first time they’ve let something like this drag on and on and on. By doing so, those governing and promoting a fight involving a boxer who had been under investigation saw their integrity questioned and – far worse – a boxer’s reputation almost ruined in the process.