Former light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan has been handed a two-year ban from all sport after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
The 36-year-old retired boxer returned a positive result for anabolic agent ostarine after his loss to Kell Brook in Manchester in February 2022, UK Anti-Doping said Tuesday.
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Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator that can help muscle growth and, according to UKAD, is designed to have similar effects to testosterone.
Khan was first notified of his own positive result in April 2022 and given a provisional suspension, with charges following in July after he had announced his retirement with a 34-6 professional record.
Following a hearing in January this year, the National Anti-Doping Panel accepted Khan’s submission he had not taken the substance intentionally but imposed the ban on the basis of strict liability.
The ban is deemed to have commenced on April 6, 2022, when his provisional suspension was imposed, and will expire on 5 April 2024.
Reacting to the announcement, Khan told Sky News he has “never cheated in my life.”
“You can see by my performance against Kell Brook – I lost the fight. If I went in there and knocked Kell Brook out it’s different,” he said. “If they ban me, they ban me,” he said. “I am retired anyway.”
One of the best British boxers of his era, Khan retired with a record of 34-6, though the independent panel has disqualified his result from the fight against Brook.
Khan started his career with a gold medal at the 2003 Junior Olympics and a silver at the Athens Olympics in 2004, aged just 17.
He went on to win the WBA light-welterweight title with victory over Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester in July 2009, before unifying the WBA and IBF titles with a win over Zab Judah in 2011. He lost his next fight, to Lamont Peterson, who subsequently tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
Khan later lost world title fights again Danny Garcia, Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford.
UKAD chief executive Jane Rumble the case served “as a reminder that UKAD will diligently pursue anti-doping rule violations in order to protect clean sport”.
“Strict liability means athletes are ultimately responsible for what they ingest and for the presence of any prohibited substances in a sample,” she said in a statement.
“It is important that all athletes and their support personnel, whatever level they are competing at, take their anti-doping responsibilities seriously.”