Lucas Browne denies using banned steroid vs. Ruslan Chagaev

Heavyweight titleholder Lucas Browne on Tuesday denied that he used the banned steroid Clenbuterol, which he tested positive for following his 10th-round knockout of Ruslan Chagaev to win a secondary belt on March 5 in Grozny, Russia.

"I would like to assure all my fans, the whole of the boxing world and all of Australia that I am not a drug user or a drug cheat," Browne said in a statement. "The news of this positive test has shocked and devastated me, and I will be fighting for as long as it takes to clear my name."

Browne (24-0, 21 KOs), 36, became the first Australian to win a heavyweight title when he rallied from a hard sixth-round knockdown to upset Chagaev, a 37-year-old southpaw from Uzbekistan.

On Monday, ESPN reported that Browne failed his post-fight urine test, which was conducted by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which had been retained to handle testing for the fight.

"Prior to (Tuesday) I had not heard of the drug Clenbuterol and had no idea what it was used for," Browne said. "I am now aware that it is essentially a weight-stripping drug, and as a heavyweight boxer the idea of me using it is utterly ridiculous. I am a staunch long-time opponent of any drug use, performance-enhancing or otherwise."

Browne also intimated that his food or beverages may have been spiked during his stay in Grozny.

"My team and I were well aware of the many risks involved in going to a place like Chechnya to fight a reigning champion, and believed we had taken sufficient precautions," Browne said. "In addition, it was at our insistence that VADA testing was implemented for the fight. I will be in a position to release more details and make further comment in coming days. Thank you."

Browne is promoted by former two-division titleholder Ricky Hatton's Hatton Promotions, which also issued a statement.

"Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions Ltd. were made aware late (Monday) night that Lucas Browne delivered a positive A sample drug test following his world title win over Ruslan Chagaev," Hatton Promotions said. "We believe strongly that boxing should be free from performance-enhancing drugs. However, we believe Lucas Browne to be a clean athlete who arrived in Chechnya a clean athlete. We are therefore conducting our own further investigations and cannot comment further at this time."

Browne has the options to ask for his B sample to be tested at his own cost. If he declines, or if that sample is tested and also comes back positive -- which is typically the case -- he would be stripped of the title and the win would be erased and become a no decision. He would also face a possible suspension and fine.