Lovett bust for steroids

BOXING SA is devastated by the news that its prospect of 2008, Jared "The Storm" Lovett, has tested positive for steroids.

BOXING SA is devastated by the news that its prospect of 2008, Jared "The Storm" Lovett, has tested positive for steroids.

The test was conducted after his lopsided points defeat three weeks ago by Thomas Oosthuizen for the IBO light heavyweight youth belt.

"Any winner of our award should be a role model to the sport and up-and-coming athletes. But as the saying goes, you are innocent until proven guilty," said Boxing SA's chairperson, Peter Ngatane, yesterday.

"A process has to take place (ie a disciplinary hearing). We always discourage fighters from taking any drugs. Drug-free sport is needed in order to make sure that sporting personalities perform according to their own ability."

Ngatane said Lovett failed an A sample test.

"If he disputes those results, he has the right to have his urine tested for a B sample," Ngatane, who is a medical doctor.

Trainer Colin Nathan said: "I am shocked as you are. I am as upset. This creates controversy. Our gym does not promote any use of drugs. But I must say that all my 15 fighters are entitled to their private lives. I can't be with them all the time.

"Every fighter has an obligation in my gym to look after himself and to act like an athlete within the professional code of boxing."

Attempts to get hold of Lovett yesterday were unsuccessful.

The charismatic 22-year-old boxer from the south of Johannesburg, who turned professional last year, began attracting negative publicity early this year. He was found guilty of disruptive behaviour at an amateur boxing event without provocation. He admitted being responsible for causing a fracas but denied making racial remarks.

Boxing SA slapped him with a one-year suspension, which meant that Lovett would continue fighting but must not be involved in a similar offence in that period.

In May, Lovett, Aubrey Lovett, who is Jared's father, boxers Zane Mandel and Lee Dyer allegedly assaulted elderly people with steel chairs at a restaurant in Johannesburg.

A case of assault is still pending against them.

Other boxers who have failed tests in the past are Lucky Lewele, Nkqubela Gwazela, Gabula Vabaza, Patrick and Vus'Umuzi Malinga. Lewele and Gabula smoked dagga and were banned for six months, Gwazela used performance-enhancing drugs and was banned for one year while Vus'Umuzi and Patrick, who used a drug similar to that used by Gwazela was, were each banned for two years.