Drug-testing controversy for Botha-Parker
Just another day in the circus world of boxing.
Two days out from their anticipated match-up in Auckland, Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker and Francois Botha submitted drug tests today.
On the face of it, the late scheduling of the tests could create controversy.
There is now no way of telling if either fighter has taken a banned substance until June 25 – 12 days after the fight.
With Botha having a chequered history of doping the promoters were keen to take steps to ensure he was clean.
The veteran South African was the first heavyweight boxer to test positive for steroid nandrolone after his win over German Axel Schulz 1995
Sonny Bill-Williams’ camp also claimed Botha had phentermine - a banned stimulant - in his system during their controversial shortened fight in Brisbane earlier this year.
Botha maintains that was a smear campaign.
“Ever since 1995 everyone is trying to frame me over this,” he said today.
Parker and Botha completed urine and blood samples today. Initial urine tests, however, only identify six illicit drugs such as THC (cannabis) and methamphetamine (P).
While both boxers showed no signs of any illicit drugs, David Renata, the doctor of 22 years who performed today’s tests, revealed to Fairfax Media it will take 14 days to assess if either fighter has used performance enhancing drugs.
“There are no labs in New Zealand that can process performance enhancing drugs so we have to send it across to the Australian Sports Drug Institute testing laboratory in Sydney,” Renata said.
“It’s going to take 10 days for the samples to be analysed. If they find a banned substance then it takes a further four days to clarify.
“The initial urine screening I’ve just done picks up six illicit drugs, not performance enhancing drugs. That comes out of the blood tests.”
Asked whether timing of the tests made them irrelevant as there is no chance of detection before the fight, Renata said: “To a certain extent. We can say they haven’t had any illicit drugs in the last 48 hours but we can’t tell if they’ve got performance enhancing drugs.
“It’s hard for the promoter to bring the boxer over two weeks before the fight. Ultimately that would be the best choice.
“If something was to come up then it’s up to the boxing commission to make a call on the results.”
Renata also quashed concerns from Parker’s trainer, Kevin Barry, that Botha could be using cortisone as a masking agent. Botha openly revealed the pain-numbing substance had been injected into his elbow in order for him to punch freely.
An anxious Barry claimed that could prevent performance enhancing drugs being found in his system.
“If he needs cortisone to mask something or get himself in good enough shape for the fight then I’m okay with that,” he said.
But Renata refuted Barry’s suggestions.
“Cortisone is a very strong anti-inflammatory,” Renata said. “If cortisone is put into a joint; his elbow or such area, it is allowed. It won’t mask anything else. It will come up on the testing but it won’t mask other substances.”