RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

PEDS In Boxing

By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart

An opinion piece from the only Donald worth listening to…

Full Stop – In British English grammar a full stop is a lengthy pause, in the US, you call it a period. In the UK that tends to suggest feminine products. Here it means a period of time where I look at something in boxing in a little more depth. I am typing from my perspective of a fan who watches the sport closely. It’s an opinion. It is my opinion. Don’t like it? There are other opinions out there but if you don’t like it then good, debate and democracy are a good thing. If you do like it, feel free to spread the word.


Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) exist in sport. The major scandals of yesteryear – Lance Armstrong and the Tour De France, Ben Johnson and Olympic sprinting – are well documented. What are less well documented can be the obscure examples – like the Olympic Spanish canoeist.

When people who cheat get caught there is uproar. People become indignant and lawyers become involved. Some, like Armstrong, have a long history of denying their cheating and even manage to become so bullish and threatening that they continue to get away with it for years.

But of all of the above, they may get threatening and they may get litigious but the effect of PEDs being in their routine is that they become the victim of the abuse.

It is why boxing is a different case altogether.

There, the use of PEDs can end up with someone else paying the penalty of your illegal use of drugs. They could die.

Getting in a ring whilst “juiced up” has lethal possible consequences as the enhanced and more aggressive nature of your illegal indulgence can lead to you being overpowering and unable to stop your violence. There are weekends in city centers all over the world that show that. People all heightened by substances in their bodies become over aggressive and overconfident in their abilities and people, ordinary people, get really hurt.

2023 has been some year in the UK for people getting caught with some form of “adverse finding” in their bloodstream.

It began with Connor Benn at the tail end of last year. Then came news that Amir Khan had returned a failed test. Swiftly we had to deal with Dillian Whyte being pulled out of his rematch, at the last minute, with AJ. Alicia Baumgardner then tested positive before the late replacement for the AJ fight, Robert Helenius has now posted an “adverse finding.”

They join other boxers who have been found with adverse things in their drugs tests – Jarrell Miller, Tyson Fury, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Roy Jones Jr, James Toney, Alexander Povetkin, Vitali Klitschko, Lucas Browne, Shane Mosley…

Some of them are still boxing. Some of them are in pound for pound ratings. Some of them are the “best in the boxing business”.

Do we have a problem?

I think we have two.

Firstly, PEDs are clearly rife. Rooting them out has to be a proper priority of which some independent body which simply does not exist just now, needs to take a grip. There are far too many bodies using X, Y or Z agency to test fighters and funding tests through one, the other or another. Boxing is fragmented and what is needed is some one organisation, somewhere to bring the disparate major bodies together and say, we need to fund this internationally and make sure we have commissions who adhere to a strict code. Promoters need to adhere to that, and we need to enforce that.

Some chance of that happening…

Secondly, we need to stop with the moral outrage.

PEDs are being used by fighters we think are the best and they have been caught, so if you buy a ticket, pay a Pay Per View tariff or support them cut the crap when another boxer gets caught. We need education and not condemnation or all that is going to happen is that these guys are going to get better at avoiding being caught. I can support rehabilitation in society – why would I not accept it in sport?

People caught do a variety of things from I shall fight this to I have never taken this to I shall sue anyone who to yes, I did it.

We need to encourage the last of that to help clean this up.

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