WBA heavyweight champ Browne contests positive doping test

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:13 p.m. EST

HYDE, England (AP) WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne says he will fight to clear his name after failing a drug test following his world title fight win over Ruslan Chagaev earlier this month.

Browne became Australia's first heavyweight world champion when he stopped Chagaev in the 10th round of their fight in Grozny, Russia, on March 5.

Browne's promoter, former British fighter Ricky Hatton, said Tuesday he had been notified that Browne tested positive following the fight.

The test conducted by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association came back positive for the steroid clenbuterol, ESPN reported.


''We believe Lucas Browne to be a clean athlete who arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete,'' Hatton said in a statement. ''We are therefore conducting our own further investigations and cannot comment further at this time.''

Browne's victory gave him the so-called regular version of the WBA belt. Britain's Tyson Fury is considered the WBA's unified champion as he also holds the WBO title.

Browne said he was ''shocked and devastated'' by the positive test and insisted he had done nothing wrong.

''I am not a drug user or a drug cheat,'' he said in a statement released through his promoters. ''I will be fighting for as long as it takes to clear my name.''

Browne said he had never heard of clenbuterol until now. He said he has been told the substance is used as a weight-loss drug, which he said would be ''utterly ridiculous'' to use as a heavyweight.

Browne suggested the positive test could have resulted from sabotage.

''`My team and I were well aware of the many risks involved in going to a place like Chechnya to fight a reigning champion and believed we had taken sufficient precautions,'' he said. ''In addition it was at our insistence that VADA testing was implemented for the fight.''

Browne was knocked down in the sixth round but fought back and knocked Chagaev to the canvas in the 10th. The referee stopped the fight later that round.

Browne improved to 24-0 (21 KOs) with the victory, in front of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.