British boxing great Ricky Hatton has today leapt to the defense of Lucas Browne after the recently crowned WBA heavyweight champion was found to have failed a drugs test.
In an official statement, Hatton insisted that Browne - a fighter represented by The Hitman's 'Hatton Promotions' - was a clean athlete when he arrived in Chechnya to fight Ruslan Chagaev at the start of this month.
Browne is at the centre of controversy after a test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) returned positive results for the drug clenbuterol - a weight-stripping drug with muscle-building properties. It is more commonly used to treat asthma.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
"Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions were made aware late last night that Lucas Browne delivered a positive A sample drug test following his world title win over Ruslan Chagaev," wrote Hatton on Tuesday evening, via the Sydney Morning Herald.
"We believe strongly that boxing should be free of performance-enhancing drugs. However, we believe Lucas Browne to be a clean athlete who arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete.
Article continues below
"We are therefore conducting our own investigations and cannot comment further at this time."
Hatton's comments come in the wake of Browne himself insisting his own innocence and vowing to fight to clear his name.
How the 36-year-old Australian goes about that remains to be seen, but it certainly appears that he has his promoters behind him as the process continues.
At the time of writing, only Browne's A sample had been tested meaning as the VADA have insisted that boxer himself pays for the testing procedure required for the B sample.
If he is serious about clearing his name, discovering the results of this second test would appear to be the next logical step.
Whatever the eventual outcome, there is no doubt that the news has cast a huge shadow over Browne's recent achievements.
Having become the first Australian ever to hold a world title in the sport, the veteran heavyweight's future had looked bright having secured his 24th straight victory in defeating Chagaev.
In terms of the drug Browne has been found guilty of taking, clenbuterol is, according to BBC Sport, also used in beef farming in countries such as China and Mexico.
In the past, this has led to debate about enforcing a 'slightest trace' policy on athletes found to have it in their system because of the potential of inadvertently ingesting it in food.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms