Respected international athlete Matt Sanderson has pledged his support to Sheffield boxer Jez Wilson, banned from all sport for two years after failing a drugs test.
Wilson was advised by a third party to take a diuretic, furosemide, to help him make weight before an English middleweight title defeat to Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor on November 21. It turned out to be a banned substance.
Qualified triathlon coach, Sanderson, owner of Woodlands Fitness Centre, Dronfield, helped Wilson with some aspects of his conditioning.
He said: “Jez is a pure athlete and a man of integrity. He was a big enough person to ring Lewis and explain what had happened. He mistakenly accepting some advice and I’m deeply sorry for him this has happened. He is a 100% genuine person and certainly wasn’t looking to enhance his performance.”
The UK Anti-Doping accepts the Crosspool fighter used the diuretic inadvertently. And Wilson is comforted by that and the fact club-mates at Sheffield Boxing Centre remain behind him.
He said: “If anything good can come from this, people can learn from what happened. The lesson is: never take things on face value. I trusted somebody who thought he was helping me. I wanted to lose that last bit of weight and decided to take his word rather than going in the sauna. Don’t always believe things that people tell you even if they are trying to help you out!
Wilson has continued to reflect on the build-up to taking the drug.
“When you are in a pre-match mind-set you don’t always think everything through. It was a naive mistake; it wasn’t as if I knew I was doing something illegal and just prepared to take the risk. “Nine million people take this drug in America, but I if it is illegal in sport here, then ofcourse people shouldn’t take it.”
Father of two Wilson, 36, “I have never had that drug before it was all a total one-off.
“I have apologised to the UKDA and told them I was ashamed for making such a mistake after training hard all my career and always doing things fairly.”