WBC Explains Their Position on ‘Atypical Findings’ in Artur Beterbiev’s VADA Tests

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The World Boxing Council has issued their position with respect to the ongoing controversy surrounding the anti-doping tests performed on unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev – in connection with Saturday’s mandatory defense against Callum Smith in Quebec, Canada.

Last month, VADA reported atypical findings for HGH and testosterone from two of the samples collected from Beterbiev.

Smith’s team, and promoter Eddie Hearn, have demanded more information on the atypical findings.

Both sides have made it clear that Beterbiev-Smith will go ahead as planned.

The WBC, which uses VADA to handle the organization’s Clean Boxing Program, explained the situation: 

Two samples (one urine and another blood) collected on December 6, 2023, yielded analytical “atypical findings” for 5b-androstanediol and HGH (human growth hormones).  An atypical finding is not a positive results for a banned substance.  The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) defines an atypical finding as “a report from a laboratory or other WADA-approved entity which requires further investigation … ”  That is exactly what the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which is the entity that administers the WBC Clean Boxing Program, did in this case.


In response to the atypical findings, VADA immediately ordered additional anti-doping tests on Champion Beterbiev.  To that end, VADA caused samples to be collected from Champion Beterbiev on December 15, 2023 (urine), December 21, 2023 (blood and urine), and then again on January 3, 2024 (blood).  All of those samples yielded absolutely negative results.  Matchroom, Top Rank, the Quebec Commission, all sanctioning bodies involved (WBC, IBF, and WBO), and the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) received notifications of all the results of anti-doping test Champion Beterbiev has taken, and therefore of all follow up procedures.


It is widely known that there is no way to identify conclusively the source of an atypical finding.  In the case of 5b-androstanediol, it has been reported that the atypical finding can be due to the rate certain people’s bodies metabolize naturally occurring testosterone-type compounds.  In the case of HGH, WADA provides with specific criteria to its accredited laboratories to report HGH levels as atypical or adverse findings.  In Champion Beterbiev’s case, the level of HGH detected did not meet the WADA criteria for an adverse finding, and therefore constitutes an atypical one.


Because the origin of an atypical finding is very difficult to identify, WADA recommends further testing to monitor any abnormal variations in testosterone levels.  In Champion Beterbiev’s case, the follow up tests were not only negative, but yielded consistent testosterone levels without any spiking that could have suggested exogenous intake of performance enhancement substances.  In short, Champion Beterbiev’s testing protocol and results therein lead only to one conclusion: there are no adverse findings.  In light of the testing measures taken and all results obtained, the WBC has not and will not take any adverse action in this matter.

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