Amir Khan demands lifetime bans for boxing drug cheats after Jarrell Miller's 'slap on the wrist'

British boxer has previously shared a ring with two fighters who failed tests

Powered by automated translation

Amir Khan says boxers found using performance-enhancing drugs should receive lifetime bans from the sport, saying the current punishments are too lenient and are therefore endangering lives.

American Jarrell Miller became the latest high-profile boxer to fail a drugs test, when it was confirmed last month that he had returned three adverse findings.

Subsequently, Miller's lucrative heavyweight title fight against unified world champion Anthony Joshua, scheduled for June 1 at Madison Square Garden, was called off. Joshua has since agreed to meet Andy Ruiz Jr instead in New York. Miller, meanwhile, was banned for six months by the World Boxing Association (WBA).

However, Khan has joined a slew of prominent figures in the sport in the wake of the decision to call for harsher sentences. The former world champion, speaking in Dubai, has previously been in the ring with fighters who have gone on to test positive for drugs, including Lamont Peterson and Saul Alvarez.

"Six months, after taking drugs? I cannot believe that,” Khan said. “You are cheating and you can literally kill someone in the ring.

“I've been in a fight with someone who has taken drugs, for example Peterson. It can affect you. When I was fighting Peterson, I put him down twice in the fight and he kept coming back. He would just not get tired.

"Trainings and workouts should get you into shape, not drugs. The ban should have been a bit longer, make it sound more serious that you can't take drugs.

"People know it's a six-month ban, they'll think 'that's only one fight, really.' They will come back and take it again. It's just a slap on the wrist. It should be a bigger caution and fighters to get in trouble for it more."

Miller, 30, was found to have EPO, human growth hormone and endurance-boosting GW1516 in his blood or urine samples. He was caught by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada), the Las Vegas-based body that operates in boxing and mixed martial arts. Working more regularly in conjunction with lead promoters, Vada were also responsible for catching Alvarez.

Other high-profile names to have returned adverse drug findings in the past few years include former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz and Dillian Whyte. In 2012, Khan’s rematch with Peterson was called off when the American tested positive for synthetic testosterone.

Peterson was stripped of his title by the WBA, but remarkably, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) found that Peterson’s “therapeutic use of the hormone” was “not for the purpose of performance enhancement". Peterson returned to the ring nine months later.

Asked how significant an issue drugs are in elite boxing at present, Khan said: "It is getting a really big problem. Before, they never had these tests. There are now so many fighters getting caught. It shows that there are drugs in the sport of boxing.

"We need to stop that. By stopping it, give them a lifetime ban - that is how I look at it. A lifetime ban needs to be on fighters who take drugs, as it's not a level playing field.”