Amir Khan banned from all sport for two years over failed drugs test

British boxer tested positive for ostarine following defeat against bitter rival Kell Brook in February 2022

Amir Khan after his defeat against Kell Brook in Manchester on February 19, 2022. The former light-welterweight world champion failed a drugs test following the fight. Reuters
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British boxer Amir Khan has been banned from all sport for two years after testing positive for a prohibited substance following his fight against Kell Brook in February 2022.

Khan lost to bitter rival Brook at Manchester’s AO Arena, in what was the Bolton fighter's first bout in two-and-a-half years, when the referee stopped the contest in round six.

It proved to be the 2004 Olympic silver medallist's final fight as he decided to hang up his gloves three months later aged 35 after 34 wins from 40 fights.

But the former light-welterweight world champion had tested positive for ostarine – a drug designed to have similar effects to testosterone – after the Brook fight.

"I've never cheated," Khan said on Sky News on Tuesday. "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."

Khan has accepted he broke anti-doping rules but said it was not intentional. An independent tribunal in turn accepted that argument, ruling out “deliberate or reckless conduct” by the 36-year-old.

The ban from all sport is deemed to have begun on April 6, 2022 and expires on April 5, 2024.

Khan admitted straight after the devastating defeat to old foe Brook – in a 149lb catchweight bout – that his time in boxing might well be over.

“I’ll sit down with my family but I think it could be,” Khan said when asked whether this could be his last fight. “It’s something to think about, definitely.

“I’ve always said I never want boxing to retire me, I want to retire from boxing and punishment like that sometimes in boxing, too much of that can be sometimes harmful in the future.

“Credit goes to Kell, he put on a great performance,” Khan added about his opponent who has also since quit the ring. “No excuses – the better man. He boxed out of his skin, I never expected that from him.”

And a few months later, Khan's sparkling career was over. “It’s time to hang up my gloves,” he said in a short statement on Twitter. “I feel blessed to have had such an amazing career that has spanned over 27 years.

“I want to say a heartfelt thanks and to the incredible teams I have worked with and to my family, friends and fans for the love and support they have shown me.”

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.

He was first notified of his own positive result in April 2022 and given a provisional suspension, with charges following in July.

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.

“It is important that all athletes and their support personnel, whatever level they are competing at, take their anti-doping responsibilities seriously. Not doing so risks damaging not only an athlete's career, but also undermining public confidence in clean sport.”

Updated: April 04, 2023, 7:19 PM