SYDNEY — The World Boxing Association has stripped Australian Lucas Browne of his heavyweight title and suspended him for six months after his B sample on a doping test also returned a positive finding.
Browne became Australia's first world heavyweight champion when he stopped Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan in a 10th-round technical knockout on March 5 at Grozny in Chechnya, Russia.
But the banned drug Clenbuterol, which boosts metabolism and burns fat, was detected in Browne's A urine sample in a test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) after the fight. The WBA said on its website Thursday (Friday, Manila time) that the B sample also was positive.
Browne said Friday on social media: "I'm leaving everything to my lawyer."
The WBA said that its championships committee, "in accordance with its rules," had stripped Browne of his title and imposed a six-month suspension. It said after that six-month period, Browne's status will be reconsidered, depending on whether the 34-year-old Browne intends to return to the ring.
In his hometown of Perth, Western Australia on March 30, Browne insisted that he was innocent of doping, saying that a urine and blood test he took six days before his fight with Chagaev came back negative.
He said he was randomly tested on his arrival to Russia on Feb. 29 by the Las Vegas-based VADA and the negative result proved that he was "a clean athlete" when he entered the country. He said his team was investigating the period in between his arrival and the night of the fight to determine why the second test was positive.
Browne said he was prepared to take a polygraph test and hair drug test if necessary, but was not confident of keeping his WBA belt because the decision was out of his hands.
"It's the same with boxing, I like KOs (knockouts), not decisions, because it is in someone else's hands," he said in March, adding that he might have been a victim of sabotage.
"My team and I were well aware of the many risks involved in going to a place like Chechnya to fight a reigning champion and believed we had taken sufficient precautions."
Browne, 24-0 with 21 knockouts, was knocked down in the sixth round but fought back and knocked Chagaev — 34-3-1, with 21 knockouts — to the canvas in the 10th. The referee stopped the fight later in that round.