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It looks like 21-year-old British boxer named after the legendary Muhammad Ali will have to get over some tough early hurdles in his career if he hopes to live up to his name.
A boxer with the same name as “The Greatest” was dealt a two-year ban after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Trenbolone during the World Series of Boxing in Morocco last spring. Trenbolone, which helps promote muscle growth, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.
The International Boxing Association, the governing body over amateur boxing, said it “welcomes and fully supports the anti-doping testing procedure” at its competitions and is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency “to ensure that boxing is doping-free”.
Ali, however, is not going down quietly. The young fighter from Yorkshire—and the first member of the GB Boxing squad to fail a drug test for a banned substance—has vehemently denied any intentional wrongdoing.
In addition, GB Boxing stands firmly in Ali’s corner, releasing the following statement in support of their fighter: “We have noted the conclusion of AIBA’s findings on this issue and that it is of the opinion that the athlete did not take the prohibited substances with the intention to cheat. GB Boxing is committed to clean sport and we work with U.K. Anti-Doping and our international federation to provide extensive education and support to our boxers on anti-doping rules, the anti-doping obligations upon them as athletes and the importance of adhering to the principles of clean sport.”
Whatever the final outcome, Ali will be in the clear to box again in April of 2019, and he’s committed to earning a spot on his country’s team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.