For months, Lucas Browne has maintained his innocence, affirming he did not knowingly ingest Clenbuterol prior to his WBA Regular World Title victory against Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny back in March this year.
As his six-month ban reaches its end, Browne received his exoneration as the WBA released a document stating “it is unlikely Browne intentionally or voluntarily ingested Clenbuterol in a single dose in the days leading up to the bout as the amount would not have gained any advantage” as a result of an unscheduled test conducted five days prior to the bout was found to be negative.
Browne expressed his relief to the AAP on Wednesday “It’s good that they’ve come out and said they believe that I didn’t do it on purpose and that it was only a one-off in my system,” he said. “So it at least vindicates me which is good, but I still don’t have the belt. I’m basically in the same position as I was before the Chagaev fight.”
Browne – now ranked in top 5 of the WBA – is ordered to fight Fres Oquendo for the vacant title within 120 days. Both sides have 30 days to reach an agreement otherwise the bout goes to a purse bid for a minimum of $325,000.
If Oquendo is unavailable or injured, then Browne will have to face the next available contender, which appears to be David Haye.
This news is the first sign of momentum of the WBA Heavyweight tournament to crown 1 champion, which has been at a standstill since negotiations with interim champion Luis Ortiz and Alexander Ustinov have fallen through for the second time and the ongoing difficulties in the Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko rematch – which was announced today that the fight will indeed go ahead on October 29th.
Browne is the second heavyweight in a month to be cleared of a PED scandal after Alexander Povetkin was granted a shot at the WBC interim title against Bermane Stiverne – with the winner likely to face Deontay Wilder in early 2017 when the champion is expected to return from injury.