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Oscar Valdez tests positive for Phentermine, tribal commission will determine if he fights on Sept. 10

Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank
Fighters Network

Junior lightweight world titleholder Oscar Valdez has tested positive for the stimulant Phentermine, putting his first defense in limbo.

Valdez was recently randomly tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency and the results were returned on Monday, Team Valdez and promoter Top Rank told The Ring.

Valdez, a former featherweight titleholder, is due to make his first WBC 130-pound title defense against amateur nemesis Robson Conceicao on September 10 at the AVA Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, where Mexico’s Valdez grew up. The fight is scheduled to be the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card.

Valdez’s A sample was positive for the substance and he has the right, at his cost, to have the B sample tested.

Phentermine is on VADA’s banned list and VADA, which collects samples and reports results but does not adjudicate positive results, makes it clear when fighters sign up for a testing program that it tests for “all prohibited substances at all times” because the testing agency does not distinguish between test results from in competition or out of competition. All fighters enrolled in VADA programs get the list of banned substances.

However, Valdez attorney Patrick English emphasized in a letter sent to the WBC on Tuesday, and obtained by The Ring, that Phentermine is permissible on the World Anti-Doping Association list any time other than “the period commencing at 11:59 p.m. on the day before a competition in which the athlete is scheduled to participate through the end of such competition and sample collection process related to such competition.”

In other words, Valdez’s team believes his positive test took place out of competition and therefore should not be an issue.
“Phentermine is not a banned substance at this point in Mr. Valdez’s training,” English wrote.

The reason the substance is not banned out of competition by WADA is because “the effects are transitory and would have no competitive impact outside the time period referenced,” English wrote. “Phentermine is not a prohibited substance unless there is a positive test taken during the time period (beginning the day before the competition).”

English said in the letter that Valdez did not believe he had taken the substance “and we believe at this point it comes from an herbal tea. This shows tremendous value in VADA testing. Had this not shown up it is very possible than an ‘in competition’ test would have caught Phentermine with dire consequences. He is now alerted to the issue and has ceased taking anything possible contaminated.”

Members of Team Valdez and officials from Top Rank and the WBC are scheduled to discuss the matter on Wednesday during a Zoom video conference. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission, which regulates professional and amateur combat sports on the tribal land, has also been notified of the situation, according to Top Rank.

While the WBC will have the final say over the status of Valdez’s world title, the tribal commission will have the final say if the fight is allowed to take place.

Top Rank declined comment to The Ring as did Valdez manager Frank Espinoza.

Valdez (29-0, 23 KOs), 30, a 2008 and 2012 Mexican Olympian, is aiming to avenge a significant amateur loss to Conceicao (16-0, 8 KOs), 32, of Brazil, who beat him in the 2009 Pan American Games finals in Mexico City. Conceicao, who is also promoted by Top Rank, eventually won an Olympic gold medal at home at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

In Valdez’s last fight, he dominated and brutally knocked out Miguel Berchelt to take his junior lightweight title in an upset on February 20 in Las Vegas.


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