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FireNews : Zambian boxer Phiri handed two-year doping ban #FireNews365

Catherine Phiri, sat next to her manager Chris Malunga, met with the media on Thursday

Zambian boxing champion Catherine Phiri has been suspended from all boxing activities for two years after being found to have used a banned substance.

The former WBC bantamweight title-holder tested positive for the diuretic furosemide after she was beaten on home soil by Zimbabwe’s Kudakwashe Chiwandire in February.

Helped by having admitted her guilt, Phiri’s two-year ban has been backdated to start from May 2022.

“I would like to apologise to all boxing fans and the nation at large for the negative publicity that comes with my suspension,” Phiri said in a statement.

“In my boxing career, I have never taken any performance-enhancing drug. I have been subjected to numerous drug tests during a professional career spanning over 10 years.”

A joint statement by Zambia’s boxing board and the country’s National Olympic Committee agreed with Phiri’s assessment, stating that furosemide “is not a performance-enhancing drug”.

Nonetheless, the substance – which helps to reduce extra fluid in the body – is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“During my preparation for my world title fight, I took a drug to help me lose weight quickly, not knowing that the drug was on the prohibited list,” Phiri explained in her statement.

“I did this without the knowledge of my coach and manager. I deeply regret my actions.”

“To my fans, I will be back!”

Some fans noticed Phiri had appeared slimmer in February’s fight, and her defeat enabled Chiwandire to become WBC Interim Female Super Bantamweight champion.

Phiri, who held the WBC bantamweight title between 2016-17, admitted her guilt on 10 May this year, after her sample had been sent for testing in South Africa.

Phiri fought for the first time in 2011 and has a record of winning 16 of her 21 fights, ten by knock-out, with all five of her defeats coming from judges’ decisions.

Zambian boxer Catherine Phiri in action in 2013
Catherine Phiri has been a role model for many Zambians in recent times

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