NJ Board upholds suspension, $50,000 fine of Antonio Tarver
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board upheld its six-month suspension and $50,000 fine of Antonio Tarver for testing positive for synthetic testosterone before his heavyweight bout with Steve Cunningham on Aug. 14, the board’s commissioner, Larry Hazzard, told RingTV.com on Thursday.
The fight’s outcome, a draw, will now be changed to a no-decision, said Hazzard after a hearing on Thursday morning to see if the disciplinary measures should be rescinded.
Tarver actually passed the state commission’s drug testing assigned to him before the bout with Cunningham, according to Hazzard. But Tarver failed the more sophisticated testing provided by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, which adheres to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards- and which both fighters agreed to submit to beforehand, Hazzard said.
That ended up being Tarver’s main argument in the hearing, which took place in Trenton on Thursday morning, said Hazard — that because he passed the commission testing, he should be cleared of all wrongdoing.
“He was challenging the merits of the drug testing as it pertained to whether the commission had the right to acknowledge the result of the WADA testing,” Hazzard told RingTV.com. “His contention was that he passed the regular commission testing. But it was the commission attorney Nick Lembo who pointed out the fact that most of the local commission testing levels are nowhere near the sophistication of the WADA testing. And he had agreed to the WADA.”
Hazzard said that Tarver kept calm during the hearing. But that calm didn’t exactly hold after the hearing was over.
“(Tarver) was composed but someone told me there were some tweets already out,” Hazzard said.
Tarver continues to maintain his innocence on social media. Following the hearing, he posted a video on YouTube in which he quarrels with the process. He claims he passed “the only legitimate testing company hired by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission,” which he said was LabCorp. “They tested me three times that week of the fight and all tests came back negative. It’s a frame job. I’m clean. Period,” he said. Attempts to reach Tarver were not immediately successful.
The irony of the situation is that Tarver’s six-month suspension ended on Thursday since it was retroactive from the time of the fight, but it won’t be lifted until he pays the fine, said Hazzard.
There is no timetable for when Tarver has to pay the fine, Hazzard said. Once he does pay the fine, Hazzard said that Tarver is welcome to fight in his state again.
“I see no reason why not at this point, if he takes care of his obligations,” Hazzard said. “And we’ll see from there.”
Tarver also tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2012 prior to his bout with Lateef Kayode. Tarver was fined $2,500 and received a one-year suspension from the California State Athletic Commission. The fight’s outcome, also a draw, was later changed to a no-decision.