Inside Lines: Yet another Tyson drug cheat looks set for Hampden Park

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The former world 100 metres and 200m champion Tyson Gay's surprisingly lenient one-year ban for steroid use, backdated to 23 June last year when he tested positive in the United States, is surely another body blow to the sport's fast-diminishing credibility. It now frees him to compete in all future international competitions, including the Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12 July.

The 31-year-old American will be available for the next world championships and Olympics. It seems little more than a slap on the wrist for the second fastest man over 100m. He faced a minimum two-year ban but apparently received a lighter penalty as he admitted the offence and co-operated with the US Anti-Doping Authority.

However he – and the US team – must forfeit the Olympic 4x100m relay silver medal won in 2012 after first confessing to using a banned product that year. The backdated suspension comes shortly after the 18-month drugs ban imposed on Jamaica's former world-record holder Asafa Powell.

Should Gay run at Hampden Park – the Grand Prix venue – it will not be the first time a world champion American drugs cheat named Tyson has appeared in the stadium. It was there in June 200 that boxer Mike Tyson blitzed opponent Lou Saverese in 38 seconds, now admitting to being "high on blow [cocaine] and pot" and claiming he had used his "whizzer" – a false penis containing someone else's urine – to fool the drugs testers.

Just who is taking the pee now, we wonder?

Entry problems

The decision by immigration authorities to prevent Britain's former world boxing champion Ricky Hatton from entering the United States this weekend could be a worrying signal for other sports stars who may have had a past association with drugs.

While Hatton's exclusion is said to be because of a "visa mix-up", the Hitman, due to fly to Las Vegas to work as a ringside pundit for BoxNation on the Floyd Mayweather and Amir Khan fights last night, seems to have encountered a situation similar to that of celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson, who was turned back from a US-bound flight recently.

While neither Hatton nor Lawson have drugs convictions, both have publicly admitted using them, and this now appears to be sufficient reason for the US authorities, who in the last year have banned two prominent British trainers from accompanying their fighters because of previous criminal convictions. Hatton's lawyers point out there has been no indication that he will be unable to travel in the future and confirm he has no criminal convictions of any sort. Hatton says he intends to apply for a new visa as soon as possible.

Another British boxer who may have trouble eventually appearing in the US is Olympic heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, given community service for cannabis possession as a teenager.

Sons don't always shine

Dads' lads do not always work out in boxing. World champions Joe Frazier and Tommy Hearns both had offspring who never lived up to their father's reputation and here the same has applied to the sons of Alan Minter and Joe Bugner, among others.

One-time rivals Chris Eubank and Steve Collins both have boys currently trying to follow in father's ringsteps, and they are now joined by another former world champion, Paul "Hoko" Hodkinson, whose son Kevin, a decent amateur, makes his pro debut at bantamweight in Liverpool next Saturday. The same night in Sheffield sees unbeaten prospect Kid Galahad fight Australian champion Fred Mundraby for the vacant Commonwealth super bantamweight title, live on Channel 5.

a.hubbard@independent.co.uk

Comments