Super middleweight world titleholder David Benavidez tested positive for cocaine in a random urine test conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association as part of the WBC Clean Boxing program, which requires the sanctioning body's titleholders and top contenders to be tested randomly for banned substances by VADA.
Benavidez (20-0, 17 KO's), of Phoenix, boxing's youngest active world titleholder and the younger brother of welterweight contender Jose Benavidez Jr., provided the urine sample to VADA on Aug. 27 in Las Vegas.
"The WBC has received confirmation from VADA of an adverse finding of David Benavidez. Protocol to immediately begin," WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman tweeted on Tuesday.
Benavidez claimed a vacant 168-pound world title in September 2017, when he overcame a brief sickness to score a split decision against Ronald Gavril to become the youngest fighter in division history to win a world title. On Feb. 17, Benavidez made his first successful defense, outpointing Gavril in a one-sided rematch.
Benavidez was in talks to defend his title against former 160-pound world title challenger Matt Korobov on the Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter Jr. lightweight unification undercard on July 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. However, the fight was nixed when Top Rank promoter Bob Arum revealed he had signed Benavidez to his stable, giving the 21-year-old a signing bonus of $250,000, although Benavidez was still under contract with promoter Sampson Lewkowicz through 2021. Benavidez returned the signing bonus to Top Rank and went back to Lewkowicz after he filed a lawsuit.
Benavidez could make a mandatory defense against former beltholder Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KO's), but the positive drug test could derail the fight as Benavidez likely faces suspension for his actions. It was rumored the bout would take place on the undercard of Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter on Sept. 8 on Showtime, but that never happened.