Amir Khan has been banned from all sport for two years following anti-doping rule violations for the presence and use of a prohibited substance – before bizarrely claiming the positive test could have been down to ‘shaking people’s hands’.
A urine sample collected by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) from the 36-year-old after his fight against Kell Brook in February 2022 contained an Adverse Analytical Finding for ostarine – a banned bodybuilding drug.
UKAD notified Khan – an Olympic silver medallist and former world super-lightweight champion – of this on April 6, 2022 and issued him with a provisional suspension, meaning he has known about this for 12 months.
On July 20, 2022, they then charged the boxer with two Anti-Doping Rule Violations for the presence and use of a prohibited substance.
Khan accepted the violations but maintained his ingestion of ostarine was not ‘intentional’, while he also pleaded his innocence and insisted he ‘never had or never will cheat’ after the suspension was announced on Tuesday.
Amir Khan has been banned for two years following anti-doping rule violations a year ago
Ostarine was found in a urine sample Khan provided following his loss to Kell Brook last year
His claim the ingestion of ostarine was ‘not intentional’ meant the case was referred to the National Anti-Doping Panel and was considered by an independent tribunal which heard the case on January 24, 2023.
In the written decision it came to, dated February 21, 2023, the independent panel found him to be guilty of both violations, but concluded Khan had not done so intentionally.
Speaking on Sky Sports News on Tuesday morning after he was handed a two-year ban, Khan denied any suggestions of wrongdoing. He said: ‘I’ve just heard about it now as well so I’ve got no comment at the moment but I’ll be in touch to give you my verdict.
‘I’ve never cheated. I’m a retired fighter and at the same time you can see by my performance, my performance against Kell Brook wasn’t the best.
‘I lost the fight and if I went in there and knocked out Kell Brook it’d be different.
‘I’ve never cheated in my life and I’m the one that wanted the testing on the fight and also the amount that was in my system could have been by shaking people’s hands.
‘I don’t know what drug was in my system. Ostarine. I’ll be in touch – I’ve never cheated in my life and I’ll never cheat.
‘And I’m a retired fighter so if I’ve got a two-year ban its quite strange and funny they’ve banned me – I’m already retired.
‘I have no comeback plans at all but like I say I’ve never cheated and I never will and that’s never something I’ll do.’
In a statement when announcing the ban, UKAD revealed the amount of ostarine that was in Khan’s system was 0.5 per cent and said: ‘Professional boxer and Olympic medallist Amir Khan has been banned from all sport for two years following Anti-Doping Rule Violations for the presence and use of a Prohibited substance.
‘Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator. The substance is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2022 Prohibited List as an anabolic agent and is prohibited in sport at all times.’
Khan bizarrely claimed his failed drugs test could be as a result of him ‘shaking people’s hands’
He also insisted he ‘never has and never will cheat’ in his life, while saying he is firmly retired
UKAD’s statement continued: ‘Mr Khan accepted the violations charged but maintained that his ingestion of ostarine was not ‘intentional’.
‘The panel also disqualified Mr Khan’s result from the bout against Mr Brook.’
Ostarine MK-2866, also known as ostarine or enobosarm, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is popular among bodybuilders and athletes for its ability to build muscle mass and increase strength with minimal side effects.
What sets Ostarine MK-2866 apart from other SARMs is its unique ability to promote both muscle growth and bone health.
In a clinical trial, Ostarine MK-2866 was shown to increase lean body mass in healthy men while simultaneously reducing fat mass.
Khan lost to his long-time rival Brook via a sixth-round TKO in the fight, before he announced his retirement shortly after the loss.
As he hasn’t fought since then, his ban had been backdated to the time of the provisional suspension in April 2022 – meaning it will expire in April 2024.
Commenting on the case, 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.’
Ben Shalom – who was in charge of promoting the Khan-Brook fight – revealed he only found out about Khan’s positive drugs test and ban on social media after it was announced.
He also explained how the British Boxing Board of Control’s Robert Smith was informed about it just yesterday.
The announcement of Khan’s ban comes on the same day he appeared on Good Morning Britain when he revealed the impact of a gunpoint robbery last year where he was robbed of a £72,000 watch.
Khan was leaving a restaurant with wife Faryal in Leyton, east London, on April 18 when he was confronted by an armed robber who threatened him before stealing his diamond-encrusted watch.
Khan said: ‘Look, I’m very picky now where I go. I pick and choose what time I go to places and make sure that sometimes I take security with me if I got to a very busy place.
‘But it’s made life a bit more difficult now to just travel on my own or with my family to places where I would normally go.
‘Since it’s happened to me, I am a little bit scared now when I go to different places.’
Presenter Kate Garraway said Khan’s admission was all the more thought provoking as he is a professional fighter.
He said: ‘The thing is, when you have a family, you have children, you think differently and you do everything for them.
‘So, I just want to make sure that I’m going to be safe. I want to see them grow up and I want to be a role model for them.’
Khan became one of the biggest names in British boxing after he rose to fame when he won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics for Great Britain at the age of just 17 – becoming Britain’s youngest boxing medallist in the process.
During an impressive career, he became super-lightweight world champion and took part in major fights against the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Danny Garcia among others.
Khan accepted the violations but maintained his ingestion of ostarine was not ‘intentional’
An independent panel ruled Khan had committed a violation but had not done so intentionally
After retiring in May of last year in the aftermath of his fight with Brook, Khan claimed it was ‘the right time to walk away’.
‘It was in the back of my mind to call it a day and after the fight the love for the sport wasn’t there anymore and I then decided to call it a day,’ he said.
‘My family encouraged me to walk away. I want to see my kids grow up, being away from home and your family is very hard.
‘Over 20 years in the sport of boxing and at least I’m in a good position that I can walk away from the sport and everything is intact.’
Khan ended his career with 34 wins from 40 fights.