Van Rooyen stripped of middleweight title

Barend van Rooyen and Yanga Phetahni exchange leather during their fight for the vacant SA middleweight title which Van Rooyen won by a sixth round stoppage in Kempton Park on Saturday night.
Image: Christo Smith

Barend van Rooyen has been removed as the SA middleweight boxing champion on the recommendation of the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids), Boxing SA's chief executive Cindy Nkomo has confirmed.

The 40-year-old boxer's name has also been scratched off BSA's April ratings and the title he won against Yanga Phethani in December last year has been officially declared vacant.

"The decision to strip Barend of the SA boxing title was taken at a board meeting in Pretoria last weekend," confirmed Nkomo yesterday.

Van Rooyen was handed a two-year ban by Saids in February after he was found guilty of doping. He tested positive for banned substances after he won the SA title.

Saids confirmed that the boxer's urine sample returned positive for hydrochlorothiazide and its metabolites, as well as chlorothiazide.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a prohibited substance in terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency. It is listed under diuretics and masking agents.

Van Rooyen appeared before an independent disciplinary committee that found him guilty on the charge.

His ban is effective from January this year to February 17 2020.

Nkomo said the boxer has appealed.

She added that Ruann Visser, the current SA heavyweight champion who has been provisionally suspended from competition after a failed dope test, is awaiting the hearing.

"Hence he is still regarded as the SA champion," explained Nkomo.

"We have to allow that process to flow before we jump to conclusions."

Visser tested positive after a fight that saw him win the national title from Osborne Machimana on February 23.

The truth, though, is that once Saids announces that a national champion has failed a drugs test, BSA must strip him or her immediately and declare the title vacant.

Boxing SA must order the next available contenders to fight for that vacant title.

If the boxer that tested positive wins their case, then the new champion must be mandated to defend against them.

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