Lucas Browne protests his innocence again after failing doping test

Lucas Browne is determined to clear his name
Image: Lucas Browne is determined to clear his name

WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne has again insisted he is innocent of doping, saying a urine and blood test he took six days before his fight against Ruslan Chagaev was negative.

The Australian boxer tested positive for the banned steroid clenbuterol, which boosts metabolism and burns fat, after beating Chagaev in the 10th round of their fight in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya in Russia, on March 5.

On Wednesday in Perth, Australia, Browne said he was randomly tested on his arrival in Russia on February 29 by the Las Vegas-based Volunteer Anti-Doping Association and the test came back negative, proving he was "a clean athlete" when he entered the country.

He said his team was investigating the period in between his arrival and the night of the fight to determine why the second test was positive.

I would like to again stress it was myself and my team who requested the bout be subject to VADA testing. I now hold clear and unequivocal evidence that this was a negative test and shows clearly that I arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete
Lucas Browne

"I made it clear to the public last week that I intended to do all that I can to clear my name after the devastating news of the positive drugs test," Browne said.

"I am now able to report to you that on February 29 shortly after arriving in Chechnya, I was subjected to a randomly timed drugs test by VADA. This was a test of blood and urine. The post-fight test was a urine-only test.

"I would like to again stress it was myself and my team who requested the bout be subject to VADA testing. I now hold clear and unequivocal evidence that this was a negative test and shows clearly that I arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete."

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Last week, he suggested he might have been a victim of sabotage.

"My team and I were well aware of the many risks involved in going to a place like Chechnya to fight a reigning champion and believed we had taken sufficient precautions," he said.

 Lucas Browne of Australia - new WBA world heavyweight champion
Image: Browne (right) is Australia's first world heavyweight champion

On Wednesday, he reiterated his innocence, adding that he did not believe having his 'B' sample tested from the post-fight test would make any difference because "I have no reason to believe that the 'B' sample will have any different results to the 'A' sample".

He added: "I maintain that I did not knowingly consume any banned substance, including the clenbuterol found in my system in that time."

Hatton Promotions were quick to echo Browne's statement and added their own counter-accusation: "We would remind everyone hat [sic] the sixth round, Lucas' most difficult of the fight having been on the floor, was extended by some 36 seconds by the time-keeper in Chechnya to give their champion extra time to try to end the fight.

"Clearly that was intentional and Lucas overcame it. We will do all that we can to overcome this newest hurdle to ensure justice prevails and Lucas has our complete support in this regard."

The 34-year-old became the first Australian fighter to hold a recognised world belt in the heavyweight division with his win over Chagaev.

Browne, 24-0, was knocked down in the sixth round but fought back and knocked Chagaev to the canvas in the 10th. The referee stopped the fight later in that round.

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