By Geoff Poundes
Former world cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli has become the latest in a long line of boxers to be found out as a drugs cheat, when he was handed a 6 month ban today after a positive test following his win over Shane McPhilbin in March.
Maccarinelli has been trying to re-establish himself after several horrific outings which had many questioning whether he should be holding a licence. The McPhilbin fight did nothing to allay those fears as Enzo, who a few years ago would have dispatched the crude and little-talented McPhilbin with no fuss, found himself in deep trouble in the opening two rounds and barely scraped a decision.
Maccarinelli is a popular and well-thought of figure on the British fight scene, and had begun to forge a niche as a ringside analyst, but this news won’t have enhanced the big man’s standing in the game. Enzo’s punch resistance is severely shot, and many feel he should retire before he does any more damage to himself and his reputation. Maccarinelli issued a brutally honest statement typical of the man, claiming naivety rather than malice, and he’ll garner a degree of sympathy simply by virtue of his honourable past:
“Following my fight against Shane McPhilbin in March, I was extremely surprised and disturbed to have tested positive for a banned substance known as methylhexaneamine. I purchased a product called Dexaprine that contained this banned substance from a combat magazine. The advert stated that it was an approved substance and I checked the ingredients which had no reference to any banned substance that I was aware of. In fact, it also stated that it was suitable for athletes.
I have since found out that this ‘fat burner’ contained a substance and consequently I failed a dope test, albeit with a very low reading.
I wish to state that this substance was in no way used to gain any advantage in the ring or enhance my performance and whilst I appreciate that it may look that way, I would certainly never cheat or cut corners in my preparation.
I have been tested over 20 times in my career and have never failed any random or post fight doping test, but on this occasion, due to my naivety, I have tested positive for a banned substance.
I was contacted by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and helped them with their investigations, where I gave them both the product that I had taken, the container and also the advert from which I ordered these supplements.
The explanation I gave which is reflected accurately in their formal decision is evidence that my intention was not to knowingly take a banned substance or to gain an unfair advantage in competition.
I am very conscious of my reputation within the sport of boxing and even prior to the decision, that has been released today, I promised to fully accept any punishment that was given as a result of this positive test.
Furthermore, I voluntarily vacated my British Cruiserweight Championship so to allow my opponent, Shane McPhilbin, the opportunity to rechallenge for it whilst I serve my 6 months suspension, as I could not bear the thought of holding such a prestigious championship if anyone thought that I hadn’t won it fairly.
I have volunteered to assist UKAD in any way I can to prevent other boxers or sportsmen from being put in the same situation as I currently find myself in due to the availability of what appear to be perfectly legitimate supplements and manufacturers not making it clear on their products that they contain banned substances.
UKAD have accepted my offer and I am determined to ensure, along with the British Boxing Board of Control that the awareness of such supplements is enhanced and others do not have to face the humiliation that I now have to.
I would like to thank UKAD for their understanding and support in this matter and their punishment which I hope reflects the honesty in which I approached this situation.”