As suspected, former cruiserweight king Enzo Maccarinelli (35(27)-5) has been handed a 6 month ban from boxing after testing positive for banned substance. We reported on this story a few weeks back, but it has taken some time for the facts to come out. It follows hot on the heels of fellow British boxers Larry Olubamiwo (heavyweight), Terry Dunstan (cruiserweight), Michael Banbula (light heavyweight) and former British super-middleweight champion Tony Dodson who have been caught and are all serving bans for taking banned substances.
Maccarinelli, whose cruiserweight reign was ended by David Haye back in 2008, tested positive for methylhexaneamine after his controversial win over Shane McPhilbin (8(5)-3) back in March. The Welshman was knocked down in the first and third rounds of an entertaining contest, but the bell for the end of the first session was rung with 47 seconds still left, prompting outrage from boxing fans across the nation.
Methylhexaneamine is marketed as a dietary supplement for use with caffeine, as a stimulant. In New Zealand, it is an active ingredient in some recreational narcotics, but in South Africa it is prohibited. It is an extract from the geranium plant, and is a compound found in common nasal decongestants, but has been banned by many global sports bodies as a performance enhancing substance. Side effects include a heightened sense of awareness and energy, and it can mask fatigue levels.
“This a timely reminder that, no matter what your sport, under the principle of strict liability athletes must exercise extreme caution over what they put into their body,” said UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson stated. “With this in mind, Olympic athletes should be aware that they are now in-competition from 16 July until 12 August and could be tested at anytime, anywhere. MHA is available in a range of supplement products, is banned in-competition, and can often be listed under a number of different names. UK Anti-Doping continues to work closely with the British Boxing Board of Control to maintain the integrity of the sport.”
It is unclear whether the bout will Shane McPhilbin will be marked as a no contest in light of the announced ban today. What is clear, is that the recent epidemic of boxers testing positive for banned substances is not solely an American issue. Big names stateside in Andre Berto, Lamont Peterson and Antonio Tarver have thrust the subject firmly into the minds of boxing fans, purists and casual alike. In the UK, the boxers who have been caught are not isolated to the elite levels of the sport, and are competing at varying levels of the sport.The UKAD and the VADA (Voluntary ant-doping association) in the US are fast becoming a major news topic in boxing, and their work is clearly doing good for boxing, but it is slowly opening up a can of worms that is further staining the image sport.