02242018

GB boxer Ali gets two-year ban for positive test

Muhammad Ali fought at the Rio Olympics losing to Venezuela's Yoel Segundo Finol

Muhammad Ali fought at the Rio Olympics, losing to Venezuela’s Yoel Segundo Finol

British Olympic boxer Muhammad Ali has been banned for two years after failing a drugs test.

The 21-year-old flyweight tested positive for the anabolic steroid Trenbolone during the World Series of Boxing in Morocco in April last year.

He said: “All they caught me with was two nanograms. I can’t explain it.

“I was trying to make 52kg and I wouldn’t want to put muscle on. I was literally trying to cut weight. It doesn’t make sense.”

Ali, the first member of the British boxing squad to fail a drugs test for a banned substance, will be eligible to compete again in May 2019.

He was provisionally suspended in October and has now reached a “settlement agreement” with the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

AIBA acknowledged Ali had not taken the substance with the intention to cheat.

Trenbolone, which supports muscle growth, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.

BBC Sport has learned Ali argued he may have eaten contaminated meat in Morocco, or had the steroid in his system after consuming a drink intended for his father.

But AIBA deemed Ali did not provide enough proof to establish he was not at fault for the violation.

Ali, who lost in the first round of the 2016 Rio Olympics, believes the length of his ban is “extreme” and said it “couldn’t have been any worse”.

The European silver medallist added: “I didn’t leave my bedroom for five months. I was so depressed, but it is what it is. I’ve just got to do my time and move on.

“I thought it would be a six-month suspension or something.”

Ali is now targeting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“It 100% makes me more hungry – I want it more than ever now – not 1% of me thought this would ever happen to me, ” he said.

“There’s going to be people saying this and that. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a bad guy.”

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