Amir Khan, a former light-welterweight world champion, has been banned from all sports for two years after testing positive for the anabolic agent ostarine. The 36-year-old boxer retired with a professional record of 34-6, but his result from the fight against Kell Brook has been disqualified by the independent panel. Khan returned a positive result for ostarine after his loss to Brook in Manchester in February 2022, according to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator that can help muscle growth and is designed to have similar effects to testosterone.
Khan was first notified of his positive result in April 2022 and given a provisional suspension. Charges followed in July after he had announced his retirement. Following a hearing in January this year, the National Anti-Doping Panel accepted Khan’s submission that 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 April 5, 2024.
Reacting to the announcement, Khan told Sky News that he has “never cheated in my life”. He said that his performance against Kell Brook showed that he had lost the fight and that if he had knocked Brook out, it would have been different. He also said that he is retired anyway, so if they ban him, they ban him.
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 against Danny Garcia, Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford.
UKAD chief executive Jane Rumble said that the case served “as a reminder that UKAD will diligently pursue anti-doping rule violations in order to protect clean sport”. She added that strict liability means athletes are ultimately responsible for what they ingest and for the presence of any prohibited substances in a sample. Rumble also said that it is important that all athletes and their support personnel take their anti-doping responsibilities seriously, whatever level they are competing at.