What To Make Of Artur Beterbiev’s “Elevated Levels Of HGH And Testosterone?”

By James Slater - 01/12/2024 - Comments

We are not even half a month into the new year and there is, already, some sort of a controversy regarding the results of a world champion’s drugs test. As fans may have heard by now, one of Artur Beterbiev’s post-fight drugs tests ahead of tomorrow’s three-belt defence against Callum Smith in Quebec, came back with “elevated levels of HGH (human growth hormone) and testosterone.”

Kevin Iole broke this story.

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Now, to be clear – Beterbiev has NOT failed a drugs test, his results on December 6 had an atypical finding, with elevated levels of both HGH and testosterone. An atypical finding is not the same as an adverse finding and the Smith fight will go ahead. However, quite naturally, Smith and his promoter Eddie Hearn have had something to say about these results. As Smith put it, Beterbiev “hasn’t failed a drugs test, but he hasn’t passed one.”

Beterbiev doesn’t want to hear any suggestions at all of him having done anything wrong, with the WBC/WBO/IBF light heavyweight champ and his team keen to point out how the fighter’s three follow-up tests – conducted on December 15, December 21, and January 3 – all came back negative.

However, Beterbiev has laid into Smith, who he says “intends to disseminate misleading information about my VADA testing program for this fight.”

“Let me be clear now,” Beterbiev continued via his official statement, “I am a clean athlete. I have never tested positive for a banned substance throughout my amateur and professional career and I complied with all VADA requirements and protocols during the build-up to this fight. Any attempt to imply otherwise, through innuendo or suggestion is slanderous and libellous. This conduct is beyond acceptable trash-talk in combat sports. Callum is already searching for excuses, looking for a way out. See you Saturday.”

In the meantime, Hearn says he would like to get more information as to why Beterbiev’s HGH and testosterone levels were advanced.

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“(It was) not an adverse finding, an analytical finding, but still raised levels which as a promoter of a fighter in the other corner is a concern,” Hearn said to the media as filmed by Fight Hub. “So we’ve been working with VADA to try to understand the reasons why. Contractually we can’t do anything about it because it was not an adverse finding but it was an analytical result of blood and urine of raised levels of HGH and testosterone.”

So, the fight will go ahead but Hearn will continue to look into the matter. In all likelihood, this will all go away pretty soon. However, any little bit of a controversial element attached to a big-name fighter’s drugs tests is bound to generate headlines for the time being.

Some critics may well suggest Smith now has a potential gift-wrapped excuse to use if he loses to Beterbiev on Saturday.

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