Sources: Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver failed a drug test before his fight with Steve Cunningham in August.
NEW YORK — Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver tested positive for a banned substance in a test taken prior to his fight with Steve Cunningham last August, multiple sources familiar with the positive test told SI.com. It’s the second failed drug test in the last three years for Tarver, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2012 before his fight with Lateef Kayode. That positive test earned Tarver a $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension from the California State Athletic Commission.
Tarver, 46, is one of the bigger names associated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series. Advanced drug testing was used for Tarver-Cunningham, per sources. When Tarver’s ‘A’ sample tested positive, Tarver requested the ‘B’ sample be tested. That sample also tested positive, per a source.
Tarver’s positive test was for synthetic testosterone, per two sources familiar with the results. Results of the test were not known to event organizers until after the fight, according to a source.
Any suspension for Tarver will come from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. A call to commissioner Larry Hazzard was not immediately returned.
Tarver has been attempting to reinvent his career as a heavyweight. He won two fights in a row after returning from suspension. In August, with a possible date with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder looming, Tarver fought Cunningham to a draw.
In addition to fighting on PBC, Tarver serves as an analyst for Haymon’s broadcasts on Spike TV. After Tarver’s positive test in 2012, he was removed from his position as an analyst for Showtime’s boxing broadcasts. He never returned to the network.