Warning: This article contains an account of suicidal thoughts.
Boxer Conor Benn says he had suicidal thoughts after accusations of doping.
Benn, 26, twice tested positive for women’s fertility drug clomifene last year and faces a ban from boxing in the UK.
The Englishman, who has constantly protested his innocence, said he suffered “night terrors and panic attacks” during the fallout.
“It’s hurt me,” said Benn in an interview on Piers Morgan: Uncensored. “I didn’t think I was going to make it through this period. I didn’t think I was going to make it through.”
Asked to clarify if he was talking about taking his own life, Benn replied: “Yeah [I was feeling suicidal], yeah I’d say so – and it upsets me now because I don’t know how I got so bad. I got in a really bad way about it.
“I was shamed for something I hadn’t even done. It’s hard because I felt like I was on death row for something I haven’t even done.
“If I had done something wrong, I’m human. I’d raise my hands to it, ‘I made a mistake’, whatever it is, I raise my hands. Never this.
“I felt seven years of hard work and sacrifice, and leaving my family and the image I maintain, was just ruined by somebody else’s incompetence. It’s been hard for the family.”
Benn failed two voluntary drug tests and gave up his licence in the weeks after his planned fight last October with Chris Eubank Jr was cancelled.
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and UK Anti-Doping have not yet concluded the investigation into the failed drug tests.
The World Boxing Council (WBC), one of the sport’s four major sanctioning bodies, released its own findings last month, which were administered as part of its clean boxing initiative.
In a statement, the WBC cleared Benn of intentional doping and said a “highly elevated consumption of eggs” could have caused the positive test in July.
Benn provided a 270-page document to the WBC outlining his defence, but insisted eggs was never offered as an excuse.
He does not “accept” the banned substance was ever in his system and added “pride” and the advice of his legal team stopped him sharing his own findings with the BBBofC and making them public.
“I don’t have to be licensed by the board,” Benn said. “I don’t plan on fighting in Britain any time soon.”
Following the WBC ruling into Benn’s case, the BBBofC said it was aware of the findings and added “the WBC is a sanctioning body and not a governing body”.
Critical of the British board, Benn said he intends to sue the governing body and claimed the organisation which administered the drug tests, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, was at fault for the positive tests.
The fighter also felt Vada’s testing process was compromised, but the WBC ruled “there were no failures in procedures” connected to Benn’s sample.
- If you, or someone you know, have been affected by any issues raised in this article, support and information is available at BBC Action Line.