Cape Town - Current IBO World Cruiserweight champion Kevin Lerena, who has tested positive for a banned substance, says he won’t go down without a fight and is determined to clear his name in the sport.
The adverse finding, which was revealed by the World Boxing Council, emanates from a test which was carried out by VADA on October 18, 2018 in Johannesburg. VADA is the Voluntary Anti-Doping Society - an organisation that works alongside the WBC to carry out the Clean Boxing Programme.
“I’m flabbergasted by the sudden development but I will fight the matter to the bitter end because I’m not guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs,” Lerena told Sport24 in an exclusive interview.
“I heard about the failed test this morning and my team and I are fighting the case as we speak. The WBC has been in contact with me and my promoter, Rodney Berman. They have had to put it out there that I have tested positive for a banned substance because it is standard protocol.”
Lerena, who has been recovering from a shoulder injury, says that the only way the substance could have entered his system is by mistakenly ingesting one of his wife tablets. Owing to his injury, Lerena has been taking a host of tablets and he reveals that he shared the same tablet container as his wife.
“The substance I have tested positive for is a product that my wife, Gina, is taking. In among all my pain medication, I must have recklessly taken the wrong tablet. At this stage, I’m not allowed to disclose the substance I have tested positive for, but it’s a specific medication prescribed to my wife and it doesn’t enhance your genetic potential or performance because it’s not an anabolic agent.”
Lerena, who turned professional in 2009 and has a professional record of 21-1, was only set to step back into the ring next March.
“So why,” he asks, “would I need any performance-enhancing drugs? I have worked too long and too hard to throw away my career by doping. I have no reason to dope.”
Lerena, who had previously done nine voluntary drug tests and never failed one, is bloodied but unbowed.
“I’m blown away by this sudden turn of events, but I’m taking it in my stride because I know who I am and what I am about. I have sufficient evidence from my side stating that the product taken by mistake wasn’t mine. I believe that we will get to the bottom of it and sort it out.”
Lerena’s camp has e-mailed the relevant authorities pertaining to the “medication mix-up” and are awaiting their response. The 26-year-old prize fighter can now request for his B-sample to be tested.