David Benavidez apologizes after testing positive for cocaine ingredient

One day after super middleweight world titleholder David Benavidez had a random drug test come back positive for the banned substance benzoylecgonine, the key ingredient in cocaine, he said he was sorry in a tweet Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the positive result for his A sample was returned from an Aug. 27 urine test conducted in Las Vegas by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association as part of the WBC's Clean Boxing Program. The WBC requires its titleholders and top contenders to be tested randomly, with the Las Vegas-based VADA overseeing the program.

Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs), 21, of Phoenix, is the youngest active world titleholder in boxing. He claimed a vacant 168-pound world title in September 2017 when he won a split decision against Ronald Gavril in a brutal fight. In his first defense, he faced Gavril in an immediate rematch and easily outpointed him on Feb. 17.

He is supposed to next make a mandatory defense against former titlist Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) this fall, though the fight has not been officially scheduled and it has not been determined whether the positive drug test will affect the bout; Benavidez faces a possible WBC suspension in addition to a fine.

"I give him credit that he recognized his mistake," promoter Sampson Lewkowicz told ESPN. "It's his second mistake of the year, and hopefully it's his last one. But I have faith. I can help him and guide him. He learned a lesson, and he was man enough to recognize his mistake."

The other "mistake" that Lewkowicz referenced was when Benavidez, despite signing a promotional contract extension with Lewkowicz in November to extend his deal through 2021, signed another promotional deal with Top Rank and took a $250,000 signing bonus in May in an attempt to walk out on his original contract. Benavidez gave the money back to Top Rank and returned to Lewkowicz before there was litigation.

Lewkowicz said that before the Dirrell fight can be scheduled they need to see what kind of punishment Benavidez will be given.

"We didn't have a date yet for him, and now we're waiting for the WBC," Lewkowicz said. "Hopefully the fight can happen in December, but we have to wait for the WBC to determine the penalty. But when you recognize your mistake, the penalty will be much less than if he denied it or lied to the WBC. David is very embarrassed by what happened but he will continue training and, hopefully, we can announce the fight very shortly, depending on the WBC."