Former cruiserweight titlist Enzo Maccarinelli of Wales was suspended for six months by the U.K. Anti-Doping agency on Wednesday after testing positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine.
Maccarinelli has been barred until Oct. 18 (six months since the positive test results in April). The 31-year-old fighter was knocked down twice but scored a knockdown of his own to outpoint Shane McPhilbin (8-3, 5 KOs), 26, of England, on March 23 to win the British cruiserweight title.
"This is a timely reminder that, no matter what your sport, under the principle of strict liability athletes must exercise extreme caution over what they put into their body. With this in mind, Olympic athletes should be aware that they are now in-competition from July 16 until Aug. 12 and could be tested at anytime, anywhere," UK Anti-Doping chief executive Andy Parkinson said, referring to the upcoming London Olympic Games.
Methylhexaneamine, a stimulant also referred to as MHA, is often found in nutritional supplements and typically used to assist in weight loss.
Maccarinelli said he was "extremely surprised and disturbed" to find out he had tested positive.
"I purchased a product called Dexaprine that contained this banned substance from a combat magazine. The (advertisement) stated that it was an approved substance and I checked the ingredients, which had no reference to any banned substance that I was aware of," Maccarinelli said in a statement. "In fact, it also stated that it was suitable for athletes. I have since found out that this 'fat burner' contained a substance and consequently I failed a dope test, albeit with a very low reading.
"I wish to state that this substance was in no way used to gain any advantage in the ring or enhance my performance, and whilst I appreciate that it may look that way, I would certainly never cheat or cut corners in my preparation. I have been tested over 20 times in my career and have never failed any random or post-fight doping test, but on this occasion, due to my naivety, I have tested positive for a banned substance."
Maccarinelli said he assisted UK Anti-Doping with its investigation, giving the agency the product he had taken and the advertisement he used to order the supplement.
"I am very conscious of my reputation within the sport of boxing and even prior to the decision, that has been released, I promised to fully accept any punishment that was given as a result of this positive test," Maccarinelli said. "Furthermore, I voluntarily vacated my British cruiserweight championship so to allow my opponent, Shane McPhilbin, the opportunity to re-challenge for it whilst I serve my suspension, as I could not bear the thought of holding such a prestigious championship if anyone thought that I hadn't won it fairly."
Maccarinelli also said he would assist U.K. Anti-Doping in any way he could to prevent other athletes from taking a banned substance without meaning to.
"UKAD have accepted my offer and I am determined to ensure, along with the British Boxing Board of Control, that the awareness of such supplements is enhanced and others do not have to face the humiliation that I now have to," he said.
Maccarinelli held a world cruiserweight title from 2006 until losing it by second-round knockout to David Haye in 2008.
Maccarinelli is the fourth notable fighter to test positive for a banned substance in recent months, joining junior welterweight world titleholder Lamont Peterson, former welterweight titlist Andre Berto and former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver.
Peterson, preparing to face Amir Khan in a March 19 rematch, and Berto, training for a rematch with Victor Ortiz on June 23, both tested positive as the result of random urine samples. Both of their fights were canceled.
Tarver tested positive following a June 2 draw with Lateef Kayode in a cruiserweight fight.