Former light-welterweight world champion boxer Amir Khan has been handed a two-year ban from all sport after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
UK Anti-Doping said the 36-year-old returned a positive result for the anabolic agent ostarine following his sixth-round technical knock-out loss to Kell Brook in Manchester in February 2022.
Khan, who announced his retirement in May last year, accepted a violation of anti-doping rules but said he had not intentionally ingested the substance, an argument accepted by an independent panel following a hearing in January this year.
“I’ve never cheated,” Khan said. “I’m a retired fighter. At the same time you can see by my performance against Kell Brook wasn’t the best, I lost the fight. If I went in there and knocked Kell Brook out it’s different.
“I’ve never cheated in my life. I’m the one that wanted testing on that fight. Also, the amount that was in my system could have been by shaking people’s hands. I don’t know the drug that was in my system. Ostarine?
“I would never cheat. I’m a retired fighter. I’ve got a two-year ban now which is quite strange and funny that they banned me. I’ve already retired. I’ve no comeback plans at all.”
The ban is a sad final entry to a career which began so brightly, with a gold medal at the 2003 Junior Olympics followed by an Olympic silver in Athens aged just 17.
Khan made his professional debut in July 2005, became Commonwealth lightweight champion in 2007, and in July 2009 won the WBA light-welterweight title with victory over Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester.
Khan unified the WBA and IBF titles with a win over Zab Judah in 2011 but controversially lost his next fight to Lamont Peterson, who would subsequently test positive for synthetic testosterone.
His popularity extends beyond the ring, and he has appeared on the reality gameshow I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here and his own BBC reality show Meet The Khans: Big In Bolton. Khan is due to make a second appearance on I’m A Celebrity later this month.
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 the hearing on January 24 this year, the National Anti-Doping Panel issued its ruling on February 21, accepting Khan’s submission he had not taken the substance intentionally but imposing the ban on the basis of strict liability.
UKAD chief executive Jane Rumble said: “This case serves 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.
Boxxer, the promoters behind the Brook fight, said in a statement: “Boxxer is disappointed to only learn via social media this morning that Amir Khan has been suspended from all sports following UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) rule violations.
“Boxxer is vehemently against any use of any illegal or performance enhancing substances taken by athletes and condemns such unsporting behaviour. It goes against the very core of our company’s values.
“We will await further advice from all the relevant authorities.”