Professional boxer Kevin Lerena says he will fight a doping charge, after it was confirmed on Wednesday the IBO cruiserweight champion had tested positive for a banned substance last month.
“I’m devastated by this news,” Lerena said.
“If I’m guilty of anything it’s carelessness. I’ll be fighting the charge, for sure.”
The 26-year-old South African, who said he was “taking a variety of medication” while recovering from a shoulder injury, claimed he may have mistakenly ingested a tablet which had been prescribed for his wife.
“Details are sketchy, but it is believed he tested positive for a non-anabolic metabolite,” his promoter, Golden Gloves, said in a statement.
Lerena had tested positive for an undisclosed banned substance on October 18, the World Boxing Council (WBC) had revealed via its independent anti-doping arm, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada).
“The Clean Boxing Program protocol will now begin,” the international body said.
Lerena, who held a record of 21 wins from 22 fights, won the vacant IBO cruiserweight title in September last year, and he had twice since defended the belt.
“I’ve worked too long and too hard to throw away my career by doping,” Lerena said.
“I’ll be fighting this Vada charge harder than any of my fights.
“I believe in fighting clean, and I’d never put my career in jeopardy this way.”
The WBC and Vada were unavailable for further comment.