Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Mexican boxer claims that eating meat caused positive drug test

Published:Saturday | November 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMLeroy Brown

Luis Nery, the Mexican boxer who is now the World Boxing Council's (WBC) bantamweight world champion, escaped punishment recently for testing positive for a banned substance. He argued successfully that contaminated meat was the reason he tested positive for a banned substance found in his urine in an out of competition anti-doping test that was conducted earlier this year.

The WBC requires that the top 15 boxers in every weight class, must enrol in its Clean Boxing Programme, which requires unannounced and in competition testing. Nery was given an out of competition test and tested positive for the substance Zilpaterol, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which works in conjunction with the WBC. Zilpaterol is used by some beef producers, to increase the size of cattle and the efficiency of feeding them.

Nery denied using the banned substance Zilpaterol, and offered a reason why he believed that he tested positive for the prohibited substance. The WBC initiated an investigation and requested that Nery provide them with a formal written submission, which should include schedules of his activities and any possible reason for the adverse analytical finding.

Nery who has a 24-0 boxing record, provided a sworn statement to the WBC, stating that during his training for a title fight, he ingested substantial amounts of beef and beef consumed on a daily basis, as part of his dietary and training regime in Tijuana, Mexico, and that this could have resulted in the positive test.

The WBC conducted in-depth investigations, consulted with Mexico's Health and Sports Ministries and was provided with information about meat contamination, with particular reference to the banned substances, Zilpaterol and Clenbuterol. The evidence procured was then referred to the WBC Board of Governors for its attention and a ruling. In the presentation to the board, it was pointed out that Zilpaterol and another banned substance Clenbuterol had been declared by several agencies to be a beef contaminant, and had been found in the specimens of athletes who lived in, or trained in Mexico, and that special protocols had been designed to deal with this.

The Board of Governors after considering what was presented to them, ruled that based on the evidence, they could not make a decision with sufficient certainty, that Nery's adverse findings was the result of intentional ingestion of a banned substance to improve his performance, and that the information provided led to a conclusion that the adverse finding was due to the consumption of contaminated food products.

There was, however, an order for a rematch in a title fight he had with Japan's Sinshuke Yamanaka, which he won. This will take place next year, and Nery will in the meantime be subjected to a strict dietary regime supervised by a WBC physician. He will pay all the costs incurred in this exercise.