ICYMI: Former Anthony Joshua Opponent and Heavyweight World Title Challenger Receives 2 Year Anti-Doping Ban!

By Paul Mason

Nearly 18 months on from his third round defeat in a challenge for the IBF Heavyweight Title, it has now emerged that Eric Molina failed a post-fight drug test following his contest with Anthony Joshua at the Manchester Arena in December 2016.

The 36-year-old tested positive for the banned substance, dexamethasone by UKAD, although the steroid is permitted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), but only out of competition. He has been handed a two-year ban from the sport.

Dexamethasone is not a performance-enhancing drug, but it is used to treat conditions including asthma and cancer. It is prohibited during competition because it can give endurance athletes an unfair advantage, especially at altitude. Molina did not deny taking the substance or contest the anti-doping rule violation, but he did question the length of the ban. The ban will run from the date of the provisional suspension, meaning Molina won’t be free to return to the ring until October 2019. It’s not thought that Molina was trying to enhance his performance in any way.

More worryingly is the fact that Molina has since been able to fight twice since the Joshua defeat. The reason for this, I can only assume, is that the hearing took place in October 2017.

Molina returned in September 2017, squeezing past the 13-35-7 Terrell Jamal Woods via six-round majority decision. Two months later he was defeated in eight rounds against Dominic Breazeale in Brooklyn. Even more staggering was the fact Molina was due to meet Mariusz Wach in Warsaw this Friday night. The fight has since been shelved.

It also begs the question on how Saul “Canelo” Alvarez got away with a mere six-month ban testing positive for Clenbuterol, and Molina gets a much tougher sentence.

A two time former World Heavyweight Title challenger, Molina currently holds a 26-5 record, with three defeats in his last six contests. It’s hard to see a way back to fringe or elite World level upon his return with this setback.

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